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Practical Queen 


Associate Editor American Bee Journal, Former State 

Apiarist of Iowa, Author of "Productive 

Beekeeping" and "Our Backdoor 


Queen, Drone, and Worker Photographed 
from Life. Slightly Enlarged. 


Hamilton, Illinois. 

Univ. Library, UC Santa Cruz 1997 



To my good friend 


The writer has had the privilege of visiting many of the 
most extensive queen breeders of America, both north and south, 
and has tried to present, in the following pages, all the best 
methods of practice in use in these various apiaries. The book 
is small, as it has been thought wise to make the descriptions 
brief and to the point, rather than to elaborate them fully. 
Beekeepers are usually busy men, and want facts presented as 
simply and directly as possible in a book of this kind. 

The works of Alley, Doolittle, and Sladen have been freely 
consulted, as well as various texts and bulletins on beekeeping. 
An effort has been made to make the book worthy of its title, 
"Practical Queen-Rearing," and methods not of practical 
value have largely been eliminated. 

The illustrations for the most part have appeared in the 
American Bee Journal, many of them in connection with the 
author's contributions. A few have been borrowed from other 
works, as indicated in the text. 

Beekeeping has shown a remarkable propensity toward 
expansion during recent months, the tendency being more and 
more toward specialization. The demand for good queens 
has taxed even the most extensive yards to the limit. It is 
with the hope that the methods here given will prove useful, 
and that the man of experience, as well as the novice, may find 
something of value in its pages, that this book is offered to the 


Atlantic, Iowa, December 27, 1917. 


Chapter I <> 

Races of Bees. 

Varieties of Mellifica. 

Black or German Bees. 

The Cyprian Bee. 

The Holy-Land Bees or Syrians. 

The Italian Bee. 



Banat Bees. 

Tunisian or Punic Bees. 


Other Races. 

Chapter II : 19 

Life Story of the Bee. 

Life of the Queen. 

The Drone. 

Queen Rearing in Nature. 

Chapter III 23 

Improvement of Stock by Breeding. 

Desirable Traits in Breeding Stock. 

Control of Drones. 

Mating in Confinement a Failure. 


Chapter IV 31 

Equipment for Queen Rearing. 
Grafting House. 
Mating Hives: 

The Rauchfuss Mating Boxes. 

Baby Nuclei. 

Small Hives. 

Divided Standard Hives. 
Nursery Cages: 

Alley Nursery Cage. 

Rauchfuss Nursery Cage. 
Shipping Cages. 

Chapter V .... 47 

Early Methods of Queen Rearing: 
Quinby's Method. 
The Alley Plan. 

Chapter VI. ....S3 

Present Day Methods of Queen Rearing: 
The Davis Method of Using Drone Comb. 
Natural Built Cells by the Miller Plan. 
Big Batches of Cells by the Case Method. 
The Doolittle Cell-cup Method. 


Chapter VII .63 

Preparation for Cells: 
Getting Jelly to Start. 
The Author's Plan. 
Transferring the Larvae. 

Chapter VIII 71 

Getting Cells Started: 

Removing Queen and Brood. 

The Swarm Box. 

Rearing Queens in Queen-right Colonies. 


Chapter IX 77 

Care of Finished Cells: 
Use of Cell Protectors. 
Formation of Nuclei. 
Stocking Mating Boxes or Baby Nuclei. 

Chapter X.. 83 

Combining Mating with Making of Increase. 

Chapter XI 87 

Shipping Queens: 
Making the Candy. 
Caging the Queens. 

What the Buyer has a Right to Expect. 

Chapter XII... ... 93 

The Introduction of Queens: 
Details of Cage Methods. 
Direct Introduction. 
Honey and Flour Methods. 
Water Method. 
Introduction of Virgins. 

Chapter XIII 101 

The Spread of Disease from the Queen Yard. 



Albino bees 13 

Alley nursery cage 44 

Alley plan of queen rearing 49 

American bees. 10 

Apis dorsata.. 9 

Apis florea 9 

Apis Indica 10 

Apis mellifica .10 

Artificial cells 60 

Baby nuclei 35 81 

Banat bees 16 

Benton queen cage 44 87 

Black bees .....10 1 1 

Breeder, good traits of 25 

Breeding, to improve stock 23 

Cages 424487 

Cage method of introducing 94 

Caging queens 88 

Candy 87 

Case method of queen rearing 57 

Carniolan bees 15 

Cell block 5578 

Cell protectors.- 79 

Cells care of... 77 

Cells artificial 60 

Cells preparation for.. 63 

Cells starting 71 

Cyprian bees 12 

Caucasian bees 16 


Direct methods 96 

Flour method 98 

Smoke method 96 

Water method... 98 

Italian bees 1 113 


In confinement 28 

Artificial 28 

In greenhouses 29 

Mating hives 33 38 

Mating-hives, stocking. 81 

Miller method of queen rearing 55 

Nuclei 3335 

Formation of 80 

Baby..._ 3581 

Nursery cages 42 44 

Parthenogenesis 29 

Present day methods of queen reaiing 53 

Punic bees 17 

Queen, life of 19 

Queen rearing 

in nature 21 

early methods of 47 

equipment for 31 

Alley plan of 49 

Davis plan of 53 

Case method of 57 

Hopkins method 57 

Doolittle method 60 

Miller method 55 

Davis plan of queen rearing 53 

Davis mating hives 38 40 41 

Direct introduction of queens.. 96 Present day methods 53 

Disease, spread from queen yards 101 Quinby's method ..48 

Doolittle method of queen rearing 60 In queenright colonies 75 

Drones 20 Races of bees 9 

Drones control of 26 Albinos._ 13 

Banats 16 

Early methods of queen rearing 31 Blacks... 10 1 1 

Egyptian bees 17 Carniolans 15 

Equipment for queen rearing 47 Caucasians ..16 

Cyprians 12 

Feeders 41 Egyptians 17 

Feeding .....76 Goldens 15 26 

Flour method of introducing queens 98 Germans.... 10 1 1 

Gentle stock for breeders. 25 Holylands..._ 13 

German bees 101 1 Italians.- 1113 

Giant bees of India 9 Punic .. _ . . 17 

Golden bees 1526 Syrians. 13 

Grading queens 89 Tunisan 17 

Grafting 6566 Rauchfusscage.... 44 

Grafting house. 31 Rauchfuss mating hi/e 34 

Grafting in drone comb 53 Royal jelly 63 

Grafting tools 66 

Shipping cages 44 

Holy land bees 13 Shipping queens 87 

Honey method of introducing queens.. 98 Stocking mating-hi ves .81 

Hopkins method of queen rearing 57 Swarm box _ 40 74 

Hybrid bees 11 

Transferring larvae 65 

Increase, combined with mating 83 

Introduction of queens 93 Virginqueens 90 

Cage method 94 introducing _ 98 


Queen, drone and worker . .Title page 

Queen cells built under the swarming impulse. Fig. 1 

A large average production is only secured by careful selection 

Combs built without foundation contain much drone comb 

Full sheets of foundation insure worker combs _ 

Grafting house in use by southern queen breeders _ 

Rauchfuss mating box..,. '. 

A baby nucleus at the Minnesota University... 

Small mating hives in the Strong queen yard 

Mating hives using shallow extracting frames 

Eight frame hive adapted for four compartment mating hive.... 
Eight frame hive divided into three parts, with standard frames.... 

Ten frame hive divided into two parts 

Feeding with Mason jars at the Penn yards 

The Alley Nursery Cage 

The Rauchfuss Nursery Cage 

Frame for holding Rauchfuss Cages 

Comb cut down for cell-building by Alley plan __ 

Every alternate egg is crushed by Alley plan 

Queen cells by Alley plan 

Batch of finished cells grafted with drone comb 

Cutting away cells built on drone comb 

Cell block for handling finished cells.. _ 

Queen cells built naturally by Miller plan 

Frame for holding comb for cell building by Case method 

Frame of prepared cups by Doolittle method 

Batch of finished cells by Doolittle method 

Larvae not to exceed thirty-six hours of age should be used for 


Strong colonies should be used for cell-building _. 

Strong cell-finishing colony _ 

Finished cells by the Doolittle method 

Method of placing ripe cell in nucleus which has no brood 

Cell protectors 

A queen mating yard composed of standard hives 

A queen-rearing apiary in Tennessee.... 

Queen mating nuclei under the pine trees of Alabama.-- 

The Benton mailing cage 

The Miller introducing cage 

A Mississippi queen-rearing yard 

A Georgia queen-rearing apiary 

A queen yard in Minnesota 





The Races of Bees. 

The family of bees is an extensive one, embracing hundreds 
of species. On a warm day in spring, one can often see many 
different kinds of solitary wild bees among the blossoms of the 
fruit trees. Aside from their usefulness in the pollination of 
plants, these are of little economic importance. A little higher 
in the scale we find the bumble bees living together in small 
families of, at most, a few dozen individuals. In the tropics 
the stingless bees are still farther advanced in their social organ- 
ization, and store small quantities of honey which is often 
taken from them for table use by the inhabitants of the warm 
countries. However, the amount of honey stored is small 
compared with the product of a colony of honeybees. While 
an extended study of the habits of the various species of wild 
bees would open a fascinating branch of natural history, the 
genus Apis is the only one that is of practical importance to 
the honey producer. 

Much interest has been manifested in the giant bee of 
India and Ceylon, Apis dorsata, and at one time an attempt 
was made to introduce it into this country. This bee builds 
a gigantic comb in the open, usually suspended from a branch 
of a forest tree. Dorsata has a reputation of being very fierce, 
which Benton denies, saying they are no more so than other 
bees. Its habit is such that it is very improbable that it 
could be induced to occupy a hive, because of its single large 
comb, as our honeybees must do, to be properly managed. 

In the east there is another species, Apis florea, a gentle 
little bee, much smaller than the honeybee. It builds a delicate 


little comb usually built around a twig. The quality of the 
honey is very good and the combs white, but the amount of 
honey stored -in these diminutive combs is so small that they 
can never be of much practical importance, even though it 
were possible to induce them to remain in hives, which is very 

There is a species in Ceylon and other eastern countries 
which has been domesticated with some success, Apis Indica. It 
is small and excitable, and generally inferior to the European 
races. It is known as the common East Indian honeybee. 
The natives hive them in small round earthenware pots, later 
driving them out with smoke to get the honey. Attempts 
to keep them in frame hives of proper dimensions have met with 
some success, but the quantity of honey secured is reported 
as very discouraging. This species is regarded as a variety 
of mellifica by some, rather than a distinct species. In any 
case it has little claim of interest to the practical beekeeper 
who has the better kinds. 

Varieties of Mellifica. 

All the honeybees known by different names, such as Italians, 
Blacks, Carniolans, etc., are now regarded as varieties of one 
species, Apis mellifica. The differences are such as naturally 
result from being bred for long periods of time in particular 
environments. Each variety has adapted itself to the particular 
conditions under which it lived until it is, very probably, better 
adapted to that particular condition, by natural selection, than 
any other race or variety would be. Since none of the honey- 
bees are native to America, it can only be determined by trial 
which of the varieties is best suited to our conditions. The 
Blacks or German bees were first introduced into this country, 
and were very generally acclimated in all parts of the United 
States, before any other race was introduced. As in many 
localities others have since been introduced, a multitude of 
crosses, commonly spoken of as hybrids, have resulted. In 
localities where no particular attention is paid to the breeding 
of bees a new variety Avhich might well be called the American bee 


is being developed, as a result of these crosses and the natural 
adaptation to a new environment. The term "hybrid" is 
usually used to designate any bee which is not pure, of one race 
or another. It is quite probable that time will demonstrate 
that the race which is best suited to the conditions of California 
is not the best for New York or Minnesota. Up to the present 
time, the Italians are the only ones which have been given an 
extended trial in all parts of the country, except the blacks, 
which were the first to be introduced. There is still room for 
extensive experiments in comparative tests of the races under 
the various conditions of different sections of America. 

Black or German Bees. * 

Black bees are very generally supposed to have been first 
introduced into America from Germany but very probably 
they came first from Spain. The native black bees of Great 
Britain, France, Germany and Spain are said to vary but little. 
The ground color of the whole body is black with the bands of 
whitish hairs on the abdomen very narrow and inconspicuous. 
F. W. L. Sladen, who was at one time extensively engaged in 
queen rearing in England, says that "In the cool and windy 
summer climate of the British Isles it is unsurpassed by any other 
pure race for industry in honey gathering, working early and 

The blacks are easy to shake off their combs, and cap the 
comb honey very white, making an attractive product. Since 
extracted honey is coming more and more into favor, the mat- 
ter of white capping is of constantly diminishing importance. 
One of the worst objections to the blacks is their excitable 
nature. When the hive is opened they run about nervously, 
and often boil out over the top in a most disconcerting manner. 
The queens are difficult to find, because of the fact that instead 

*" According to the quotations from the American Bee Journal, common bees were im- 
ported into Florida, by the Spaniards, previous to 1763, for they were first noticed in West 
Florida in that year. They appeared in Kentucky in 1780, in New York in 1793, and 
west of the Mississippi in 1797," Dadant, Langstroth on the Honey Bee. 


of remaining quietly on the comb attending to business, they 
run with the workers and often hide. They do not gather 
as much surplus on the average as Italians, under American 
conditions, are more inclined to be cross, and are more suscep- 
tible to brood diseases. It is a difficult matter to save an apiary 
of black bees, once they become infected with European foul- 
brood. In comparison with Italians, the latter have proven 
so much better that there is a very general tendency to replace 
the blacks with Italians and in many limited neighborhoods 
where beekeeping is scientifically followed, the blacks have 

The Cyprian Bee. 

The Cyprian bees are in many respects similar to Italians. 
The pure Cyprians are said to be yellow on the sides and under 
parts of the abdomen, as well as having the three yellow bands 
as do the Italians, but the tip is very black. They are some- 
what smaller than the Italians, and somewhat more slender 
and wasplike in appearance. According to Alley, "The pos- 
terior rings of the bodies of the workers are broader than those 
of the Italian, and, when examined, it will be noticed that 
the upper portion is partially black, terminating on the sides 
in a perfect half moon, generally two. It will also be observed 
that there is no intermingling of color. With pure Cyprian 
bees this is an invariable and uniform marking." They also 
have a golden shield between the wings. 

The queens are extremely prolific, but the workers are very 
cross and not easily subdued by smoke. After extended trial 
in America, they have found few friends because of this char- 
acteristic. The American beekeeper demands gentle bees. 
Aside from the revengeful disposition, they have many good 
qualities. They are said to be long lived, to build less drone 
comb than other races, to fly farther for stores and to be extreme- 
ly hardy, wintering well. They continue breeding late in fall, 
and are not inclined to dwindle in spring. They build many 
queen cells in preparation for swarming, sometimes as many 


as a hundred. They defend their stores readily against robbers, 
and are strong and swift on the wing. 

These bees are native to the Island of Cyprus, and were 
first introduced into this country from Europe. The first 
direct importation was probably that by D. A. Jones of Ontario, 
in 1880. It is not probable that pure stock can now be found 
in this country. It is thought that some strains of the golden 
Italians have been mixed with Cyprians in developing the bright 
yellow color. 

The Holy-Land Bees, or Syrians. 

The Holy-land bees are very similar to the Cyprians in 
appearance, having the golden shield on the thorax, but they 
show whiter fuzz rings than either Cyprians or Italians. They 
were introduced into this country by D. A. Jones at the same 
time as the Cyprians. These bees are native to Palestine, and 
are said to be common in the vicinity of Bethlehem, Jerusalem 
and other Bible cities. While they attracted much attention for 
a short time following their introduction, they were shortly 
abandoned and are no longer offered for sale in America, as far 
as the writer can ascertain. They are said to swarm excessively 
and to winter poorly, as well as to propolize badly. 

THE ALBINOS, formerly popular, are probably of Holy- 
land origin, mixed with Italian, according to Root. The Albino 
resembles the Italian in appearance except that the fuzz rings 
on the abdomen are bright grey or white. Root reports them 
as decidedly inferior as honey gatherers. 

The Italian Bee. 

The Italian bee is by far the most popular race in America. 
It has been tried under all kinds of conditions in all parts of the 
country with satisfactory results. It is resistant to wax moth 
and European foulbrood, a good honey gatherer and gentler 
than the black race which preceded it. 

This race was first introduced into this country from Italy. 


The story of the first importations is told by Mr. Richard 
Colvin of Baltimore, in the Report of the Secretary of the 
U. S. Department of Agriculture for 1863, as follows: 

The first attempt to import the Italian honey-bee into the United 
States, it is believed, was made about the year 1855 by Messrs. Samuel 
Wagner and Edward Jessup, of York, Pennsylvania; but in consequence 
of inadequate provision for their safety on so long a voyage, they perished 
before their arrival. 

In the winter of 1858-59 another attempt was made by Mr. Wagner, 
Rev. L. L. Langstroth and myself. The order was placed in the hands 
of the surgeon of the steamer (to whose charge the bees were to have been 
committed on the return voyage), with instructions to transmit it to 
Mr. Dzierzon on reaching Liverpool; but in consequence of his determin- 
ing to leave the ship to engage in other service on his arrival at Bremen, 
it was not done and the effort failed. Subsequently arrangements were 
made by which, in the latter part of that year, we received seven living 
queens. At the same time, and on board the same steamer, Mr. P. J. 
Mahan, of Philadelphia, brought one or more queens, which were sup- 
posed to be of doubtful purity. Only two or three young queens were 
reared by us during that fall and winter, and in the following spring we 
found all our imported stock had perished. 

In conjunction with Mr. Wagner I determined to make another 
trial, and another order was immediately dispatched. The queens, 
however, did not arrive until the following June. Meantime, about 
the month of May, Mr. S. B. Parsons, of Flushing, Long Island, received 
an importation of them from the northern part of Italy, some of the 
progeny of which he placed in the hands of the Rev. L. L. Langstroth, 
Mr. W. W. Carey, Mr. M. Quinby, and other skilful apiarians, who with 
Mr. C. W. Rose, a subsequent importer, and perhaps some others, have 
bred and disseminated them pretty widely through our country." 

There was much interest in the new race, and, for a long 
time, queens commanded from ten to twenty dollars each in 
some cases. The late Charles Dadant was one of the early 
breeders, who imported stock from Italy direct. 

The Italian has been bred in America on such an extensive 
scale that various strains have been developed. The so-called 
three banded or leather colored Italians are probably more 
nearly typical than the goldens or five banded Italians. The 
Italian bee from northern Italy has three yellow bands, with 
pronounced bands of whitish or grey hair on each of the seg- 
ments except the first and the last. It is a mild tempered bee, 
usually being gentle and quiet under manipulation. Unlike 
the blacks these bees cling closely to their combs, and the queen 
will often continue her egg laying when the comb on which she 
is working is removed from the hive and held up to the light. 


It is a prolific race, and stands extremes of temperature very 
well. It winters well and is not adversely affected by the heat 
of the dry summers of the central west. The beekeeper who 
does not care to experiment will do well to stick to the Italians, 
at least until other races have been given more extended tests 
than have so far been given. While there are a few warm 
advocates of Caucasians and Carniolans, by far the greater 
number of practical beekeepers contend that the Italians are 
the best race. It is only fair to state, however, that no other 
race has been given the same opportunity to demonstrate its 
good points, and it is altogether probable that some other race 
may yet prove best adapted for certain climatic conditions. 

THE GOLDENS, are the result of special breeding by 
selecting the queens whose progeny show the brightest color. 
It is thought that some strains of goldens are somewhat mixed 
with the Cyprians, from which ancestry came the bright color. 
Some breeders have paid so much attention to selecting the 
brightest colored individuals, regardless of other traits, that some 
strains are unduly cross, are poor honey gatherers and are not 
considered hardy. On the other hand there are strains which 
have been selected with due care to retain other desirable traits 
along with the bright color, which are gentle and productive. 


The Carniolans resemble the blacks but are larger, the 
abdomens are of a more bluish cast and the abdominal rings 
are more distinct. They have the reputation of being excessive 
swarmers, although the queens are extremely prolific. They 
are a gentle race and reported to be good honey gatherers, and 
to stand extremely cold winters. Because of their excessive 
swarming tendency, they are not popular with American bee- 
keepers, but the dark color is sufficient in itself to condemn them 
with many who admire the bright colored bees. 

It is important that they be given a fair trial in northern 
sections, with a hive adapted to discourage swarming, by giving 
plenty of room for the extremely prolific queens. The Dadant 


hive or Langstroth frames of jumbo depth are best suited for 
this purpose of any hive in the market. Since they winter 
well and the colonies are inclined to be populous, it would seem 
that they should be especially adapted to extracted honey 
production in colder latitudes, 'if the swarming tendency can 
be overcome. 

This race is native to the province of Carniola, Austria, 
and was first brought to this country in the eighties. It is 
said that there is much variation in the markings of the bees 
in the province from which they came. They deposit very little 
propolis, and are quiet on the combs during manipulation, two 
desirable traits. 


The Caucasians greatly resemble the blacks in appearance, 
but they are very different in disposition. They are said to be 
the gentlest race of bees known. The most serious objection 
to them is the fact that they deposit propolis freely, being the 
opposite of Carniolans in this respect. They swarm freely 
and build quantities of burr and brace combs, which is a source 
of annoyance to the beekeeper. They have many desirable 
traits, wintering well, capping their honey white and not being 
inclined to drift into the hives of other colonies than their own. 
Since they resemble the blacks so closely, it is next to impossible 
to tell whether or not they are pure, which is a serious drawback 
to the careful breeder. A few who have tried them extensively 
are warm in their praises of the Caucasians and contend that 
they are superior to the Italians. While this may be doubted, 
they are worthy of a more general trial than they have so far 
received. A few breeders now offer queens for sale. 

Banat Bees. 

The Banats come from Hungary and greatly resemble the 
Carniolans. Some contend that they are not distinct. They 
are very gentle, dark in color and very prolific. They build 


up rapidly in spring and are said *to be less inclined to swarm 
than the Carniolans. 

Mr. T. W. Livingstone of Leslie, Georgia, had Banats, 
exclusively, in his apiaries and regarded them highly. He 
reported them as very gentle, building up early in spring and 
rearing brood all season. 

Tunisian or Punic Bees. 

This is a black race coming from the north coast of Africa. 
Although given a trial in America they did not meet with favor 
and none are now present in this country so far as known. They 
are bad propolizers, extremely cross, and do not winter well. 
They seem to have been lately given a trial in Scotland. Mr. 
John Anderson of the North Scotland College of Agriculture, 
writing in the Irish Bee Journal, October, 1917, says of them 
that they have some very desirable characteristics, and some 
that are inconvenient. He mentions the case of a beekeeper 
who depends solely on honey production for a livelihood (which 
is unusual in Great Britain), who increased forty colonies to four 
hundred and harvested two-and-one-half tons of honey in one 
season without feeding any sugar. Mr. Anderson regards the 
Punic bee as worthy of more attention than it has received. 


Bees have been kept in a primitive way for centuries in 
Egypt. The Egyptian bees resemble Italians in color, with an 
additional coat of white hairs. They are said to breed purely 
and not be inclined to mate with other races. They are some- 
what smaller than the European races, and build somewhat 
smaller cells in their combs. They are reported to be cross 
and not easily subdued by smoke. Since they do not form a 
winter cluster, they are not fitted to withstand severe weather. 
They are said to rear large numbers of drones, and to develop 
fertile workers in abundance. They are not likely to prove of 
any value in America. In fact, they were introduced soon 


after the Civil War, but either perished from cold or were 
abandoned in favor of more promising races. 

Other Races. 

There are numerous other races in Asia and Africa which 
are as yet but little known in this country. It is hardly prob- 
able that new races superior to those already introduced will 
be found. The native Grecian bee is said to resemble the 
hybrids so common in this country, but has probably not been 
tried here as yet. 

Life Story of the Bee. 

In a normal colony of bees, during the summer season, will 
be found one queen, several thousand workers and a few dozen 
drones. If the bees are left to themselves and receive no atten- 
tion from their owner, the number of drones is greatly increased, 
and often reaches the point where they consume what might 
otherwise be stored as surplus honey. Since there are but 
few readers of a book of this nature who are not already familiar 
with the life of the honeybee, it would seem, at first thought, 
that little space need be occupied in consideration of this sub- 
ject. However, the volume cannot be complete without some 
attention to the life history of the insects, especially with atten- 
tion to those points with special bearing on the subject of 
queen rearing. 

Since the life of the colony centers in the queen, she becomes 
of special importance, and she receives attention from the 
workers worthy of her special place. Should she be removed 
from the hive, great excitement will shortly prevail with mani- 
festation of serious distress on the part of the inmates. Unless 
she be promptly returned, the bees will prepare to replace her 
by starting numerous queen cells, utilizing the newly hatched 
larvae for the purpose. 

Life of the Queen. 

As stated elsewhere, all fertilized eggs laid by the queen 
produce female offspring. Whether these shall develop as 
queens or workers is determined by the environment in which 
the development takes place. In any case the egg hatches 
in about three days. Where eggs are placed in queen cells it 
is very doubtful whether they receive any different treatment 



before hatching than do the eggs in ordinary worker cells. It 
is after the hatching of the egg that the embryo queen receives 
special attention, which results in the perfect development of 
her sexual organs. The larger cell in which she finds herself, 
together with a plenteous supply of the rich food known as 
royal jelly, makes of her a very different creature than of her 
sister in the worker cell. 

The queen lacks the wax secreting organs as well as the 
pollen baskets of the worker. Neither has she the same highly 
developed eyes as the worker. Her period of development is 
much shorter, while her body is larger and quite different in 
appearance. Approximately sixteen days are necessary for 
the complete development of the queen bee from the time of 
the laying of the egg. Of this, three days are necessary for 
the egg to hatch, six days are spent in the larval stage, and seven 
days in completing the final transformation, during which she 
is sealed up in the cell. Twelve days are necessary for the 
last stage of development of the worker, thus requiring twenty- 
one days for the entire development. 

Apparently the queen larvae are fed for the first thirty-six 
hours in very similar manner to the workers. After that time 
they are fed far more of the royal jelly than they can possibly 
consume, being left to float in the rich white substance. While 
the worker is fed on pollen and honey during the latter part 
of her period of development, the queen larvae is fed the royal 
jelly during the entire period of, larval growth. 

The Drone. 

The drones are male bees and, apparently, serve no other 
purpose than the perpetuation of the species. Since under 
normal conditions a queen bee mates but once in her lifetime, 
but few drones are needed to serve the purpose for which they 
are designed by nature. In a state of nature, where colonies 
are isolated it may be needful that a large number of drones be 
reared to insure that the young queen will meet one when she 
goes forth to her mating flight. Where dozens of hives /are 


kept together in a single apiary, as is the case in practice of 
commerical beekeeping, the beekeeper may keep the number 
down to the minimum, without danger that a sufficient number 
will not be present. Hundreds of apiaries are unprofitable 
because their owners fail to take the necessary care to insure 
the reduction of the number of drones, which consume the. sur- 
plus of the colony instead of adding to the store. 

Except in the case of the queen breeder who wishes to 
propagate large numbers of males from choice colonies for breed- 
ing purposes, the presence of an over-abundance of drones is a 
serious handicap to the success of the beekeeper. The use of 
full sheets of foundation in the brood frames is the best insur- 
ance against the raising of drones. 

The cells in which drones are reared are similar in appear- 
ance to worker cells, except that they are larger in size. They 
are utilized for the storage of honey the same as are the worker 
cells. When the brood is developing the high arched cappings, 
like rifle bullets, will instantly distinguish them from the smooth 
capping of worker brood. Twenty-five days is necessary for 
the development of the drone from the time the egg is laid 
until it reaches maturity. Mating of honeybees takes place 
on the wing, and the act is fatal to the drone. He dies almost 
instantly, and his sexual organs are torn from his body and 
borne away attached to the body of the queen. After all the 
seminal fluid has been absorbed by the queen, the parts are 
removed, apparently by the workers which can sometimes be 
seen pulling at them after the return of the queen. 

Queen Rearing in Nature. 

Under normal conditions the bees build queen cells on 
two occasions, to supersede the old queen or in preparation 
for swarming. Where the old queen shows signs of failing, 
the bees will often build only one or two cells. When the 
young queen emerges, she will often be mated and begin laying 
without manifesting any antagonism toward the old queen. 
It 'thus happens that the beekeeper frequently will find two lay- 




Fig. 1. Queen cells built under the swarming impulse. 

ing queens in the old hive. It is usually but a short time until 
the old one will disappear. As soon as the first virgin emerges 
she will at once seek out any other queen cells which may be 
present and destroy the occupants, unless prevented frcm 
doing so by the workers, as is the case when there is preparation 
for swarming. 

When swarming is in prospect several cells are usually 
built, and the number may be twenty or more at the height 
of the season. With some other races the number is much 
greater than with the Italians. 

The beekeeper with a few colonies can sometimes supply 
his needs by simply cutting out the surplus cells, built in antici- 
pation of swarming, and using them to replace undesirable 
queens, or in the making of increase. 

Improvement of Stock by Breeding. 

It is highly important that every person engaged in com- 
mercial queen rearing, should make a careful study of the laws 
of breeding, and make a conscientious effort to improve his 
stock. Marvelous results have come from careful breeding 
of live stock and poultry, and even more striking results have 
attended the efforts of the painstaking plant breeders. Since 
bees are subject to the same laws of heredity, there is no reason 
why they cannot be likewise improved if the same care is given 
to the selection and mating of queens, that is given to other 

Fig. 2. A large average production is only secured by careful attention 
to the selection of stock. 



The fact that there is great difficulty in controlling the male 
parentage, makes the problem of breeding bees a more serious 
one than breeders of animals have to face. On the other hand, 
the possibility of several succeeding generations in a single 
season makes it possible to secure results in a much shorter 
period of time. 

The beekeeper, who is intent on bettering his stock, finds 
it much simpler to replace his poor stock with a better grade 
than does the farmer who has a herd of scrub cattle or sheep. 
Simply replacing the queens in his colonies shortly has the effect 
of changing the entire stock in the apiary, since the workers 
are short lived. If he is not inclined to buy enough queens to 
replace the poorer ones in all his hives, he can very shortly rear 
enough on his own account to do so, if he will give the matter 
a little attention. If he buys even one good queen, he can 
shortly improve the entire stock of an apiary of one hundred 
or more colonies. To do this he should rear as many young 
queens as there are colonies in his apiary, and use them to 
replace the old and inferior queens. If he does this early in 
the season, he need give little thought to the mating of his 
young queens. If the mother from which he rears his stock 
is pure, all the young queens will be pure. To be sure, most 
of them will be mated with inferior drones, but it is a well 
known fact that it is only the female offspring that are affected 
by the mating of a queen. If her mother is purely mated, all 
her drones will be pure, regardless of her own mating. Within 
a few weeks there will be thousands of pure drones, the off- 
spring of the young queens that have been introduced. The 
beekeeper should then rear a second lot of queens from a pure 
mother to replace all the mismated ones which were introduced 
early in the season. By this time, most of the drones present 
will be pure, and the second lot of queens will mostly be purely 
mated. It is thus a simple matter to replace the entire stock 
of a neighborhood with pure bees from the offspring of a single 
pure queen. 


Desirable Traits in Breeding Stock. 

No queen should be used as a breeder unless she is pro- 
lific, since this is of the first importance in determining the 
amount of honey stored. However, it is not always the most 
prolific colonies which store the most honey. Longevity of 
the bees is an important consideration, and quite possibly the 
difference in length of the tongues of the workers may have an 
important influence. It often happens that in a poor season 
a single colony will store a good crop, when others equally 
strong will get but little, or even require to be fed. The author 
had one such colony which made a remarkable showing for three 
successive seasons. The difference in production was so marked 
that most of the young queens reared were from this queen. 
A measurement of the length of the tongues of her workers 
showed that they possessed a slightly longer tongue than others 
in the apiary, or even other apiaries where measurements were 
made in comparison. Increased length of the tongues of the 
workers would place much nectar within their reach, which 
would otherwise be denied them. It is well worth while to 
have careful measurements of tongues of all colonies which 
make unusual showing, under adverse conditions. 

In general, the breeder selects queens for breeding from 
colonies which store the most surplus, with little enquiry as 
to the particular reason therefor. Since honey is the principal 
desideratum of the beekeeper, he is not so much concerned in 
the reason why a special colony stores more, as he is in finding 
the particular colony. 

Next to production, gentleness is a most important char- 
acteristic. It is very disagreeable to have bees that meet one 
half way to begin the day's work, and follow one about constant- 
ly. The fear of stings is the principal objection to beekeeping 
on the part of many people. While stings can largely be pre- 
vented by suitable protection in the way of veils and gloves, 
it is far better to select gentle stocks for breeding purposes. 
Where only the gentle colonies are selected for breeding stock, 
it is possible to very largely reduce the annoyance of stinging. 


It would seem to be possible to select gentle colonies which are 
also good producers, and, at the same time, have other desirable 

Color should be a secondary consideration, although it is 
desirable to have bees nicely marked. For a time, so much 
attention was paid to color on the part of breeders of Italians, 
that everything else was sacrificed in order to get yellow bees. 
This was carried to such an extreme that a very general prejudice 
has grown up against the Goldens. While it is quite true 
that some strains of the Goldens are not desirable, being neither 
hardy nor good honey gatherers, there are strains where proper 
attention has been given to other points, which are very satis- 
factory. In general, the Goldens have a bad reputation for 
being ugly in disposition, yet at least one strain of Goldens 
is very gentle. Very much depends upon the queen breeder, 
and the care he uses in selecting his breeding stock. Some breed- 
ers go so far as never to use a queen for a breeder, unless the 
colony can be handled under normal conditions without smoke. 

The non-swarming propensity is also to be favored. In 
many localities the honeyflows are short, and, if the colony 
swarms at the beginning of the flow, there is little chance of 
harvesting a good crop. Too much care cannot be used in 
selecting the colonies to use for breeders. Much more attention 
is given to selecting the queen from whose offspring the young 
queens are to be reared, than is given to the parentage of the 
drones. The confession must be made that few breeders 
give any special attention to this point, although it is equally 
as important as far as practical results are concerned. 

Control of Drones. 

Since the queen is mated on the wing, and there is always 
the possibility that the young queen will meet an inferior drone 
from a distance, it is highly important that a queen breeder 
go to a good deal of trouble to insure that all bees within a radius 
of five miles of his breeding yards are requeened with pure 
stock of the race which he is breeding. Unless he takes this 



precaution, there will be much dissatisfaction on the part of 
his customers from receiving mismated queens. 

If a breeder is so fortunate as to be within reach of a suit- 
able place to establish a mating station where no other bees 
are within reach, he can do much to improve the quality of his 
stock. Under such circumstances, he can select his drones 
with the same care that he selects the mother of his queens. 
A colony combining as many as possible of the desirable char- 
acteristics can be carried to the isolated position where the mat- 
ings are to be made and left there. A few have undertaken 
to rear queens on islands where no other bees are present. The 
broad prairies of several states offer similar isolation. 

Fig. 3. Combs built on starters only or without foundation contain a 
large percentage of drone cells and result in unprofitable colonies. 

Unfortunately, however, few breeders are so situated that 
they can control the drones thus completely. After requeen- 
ing all the bees within flying distance of the apiary, the next 
thing is to select the best colonies as drone breeders and supply 
them with an abundance of drone comb. This insures that 



large numbers of drones will fly from these colonies, and thus 
increase the chances that young queens will meet desirable 
mates. Care should be used to make sure that the combs 
in the brood nests of other colonies than the breeders contain 
as little drone comb as possible, and thus reduce the production 
of drones to the lowest possible minimum. Traps may be used 

Fig. 4. Full sheets of foundation in the brood frames insure worker 
combs and a minimum of drone production. 

also to catch such drones as appear in undesirable colonies. 
Unless the breeder is willing to go to great length to control 
his breeding stock and thus give his customers the best which 
it is possible for him to produce, he should by all means confine 
his attention to the production of honey or some other busi- 
ness. There are entirely too many indifferent queen breeders 
for the good of the industry. 

Mating in Confinement a Failure. 

Some practical method of absolute control of mating has 
long been sought. At the University of Minnesota Prof. 
Jager succeeded in getting one queen impregnated artifically 


and for a time it was hoped that enough queens could be mated 
in this way for use in breeding experiments. However, after 
numerous trials on the part of Prof. Jager, C. W. Howard, and 
L. V. France, at the University, no further successful instances 
have been reported. 

The A. I. Root Company tried some rather elaborate ex- 
periments in getting queens mated in large greenhouses, but 
these were likewise a failure. While enthusiasts have claimed 
success at different times by one method or another, their 
claims have generally been discredited, and up to the present, 
there eems little prospect of artificial control of the mating. 
About all that now seems possible, is to select isolated situa- 
tions for the mating stations, or to limit the breeding of drones 
as far as possible in undesirable colonies, and encourage it in 
the colonies from which it is desirable to breed. 


When the discovery was first made that unimpregnated 
females often are capable of producing male offspring, the 
public was slow to accept the fact. There was much discussion 
of the subject for years before it was finally accepted as a settled 
fact, rather common among insects. It is now well known 
among beekeepers that queens which fail to mate will sometimes 
lay a considerable number of eggs which will hatch, but all 
will be drones. In the same manner fertile workers produce 
drones which are usually smaller in size and inferior in appear- 
ance, but some very careful observers are of the opinion that 
they are quite capable of mating in the normal manner. 

Since the mating of a queen has no direct effect on her 
male offspring, her workers may be hybrids, and her drones pure. 
It is hardly within the scope of this little book to go into detail 
concerning the proof of such well established facts as those 
above stated. These may be found in detail in several of the 
old text books. Those who are interested in pursuing the sub- 
ject further are referred to Dadant's revision of Langstroth 


on the Honeybee, where a full account of the various experi- 
ments along this line are given. 

The thing that we are concerned with just now is the prac- 
tical effect that the facts may have upon the problems of the 
queen breeder, and these we have set out as briefly as possible 
in the foregoing pages. 


Equipment for Queen Rearing. 

The kind and amount of equipment necessary for queen 
rearing will depend to a great extent upon conditions. The 
beekeeper who wishes to rear but a few queens for use in re- 
queening his own apiaries, can get along very well with limited 
equipment. The commercial queen breeder, who expects to 
send out several thousand queens each year, will do well to 
provide a liberal amount of equipment, for, otherwise, he will 
be hampered and unable to get the best results. An effort is 
made here to describe the various systems of management, 
and the reader can select what most appeals to him. In general, 
the simpler the system, the more efficient and the larger the 
amount of work which can be accomplished in a given time. 
Several different methods are described for doing the same 
thing, yet it is manifestly unwise for any individual to provide 
himself with all the equipment described, or to undertake the 
various systems outlined, unless it be for the purpose of experi- 
ment rather than for practical results. Usually it is best to 
use modifications of equipment used for commercial honey 
production so that in the event of a change back to regular 
beekeeping the equipment can mostly be used, or sold to other 
beekeepers in case of giving up the work. Second hand queen- 
rearing equipment is difficult to sell, since there are comparative- 
ly few men engaged in commercial queen rearing. 

Grafting House. 

On visiting the queen breeders of the south, I was much 
impressed with a grafting house in common use in the queen 
rearing apiaries of Alabama. While it is possible to make 
use of the kitchen or other warm room in the house, or to do 
the work in the open air in warm weather, the little building 




Fig. 5. Grafting house in use by southern queen breeders 

shown at Figure 5 is far more desirable. As will be seen in 
the picture, the building is made of matched lumber and is 
very tight. A seat is provided for the operator, and in front 
of it a bench or table running across the building and about 
two feet wide. This provides ample room for combs, tools, 
etc., and one can work in comfort and at leisure. The entire 
front above the table is composed of window sash, thus providing 
an abundance of light. Some of these grafting houses, like the 
one shown, are also provided with glass in the roof like a photog- 
rapher's studio. It is well to provide a shutter to cover the 
roof in extremely hot weather, or to protect the glass during 
storms. A shade is also desirable for the front, to shut out too 
much sunlight at times. A room four by six feet is amply 
large for this purpose, and, by means of a small oil stove, it 
can be kept warm in cool weather. This is important to pre- 
vent the chilling of the larvae while grafting. Some of the 
more extensive queen breeders find it necessary to graft cells 


every day during the season, rain or shine, and during the rush 
days of midsummer must prepare hundreds of cells. Not the 
least of the advantages of this building is the protection from 
robbers. Where it is necessary for the operator to be at work 
for several hours at a time, this little building in the center 
of the yard is a great time and labor saver, as well as adding 
much to the convenience and comfort of the operator. It merits 
more general use. While the one shown in the picture admits 
more light than is necessary on bright days, the extra glass 
space will be much appreciated in dark and cloudy weather. 

Mating-Hives. A 

The honey producer who rears queens only for the purpose 
of improving his stock or requeening his apiaries, seldom both- 
ers much about mating-hives. When he has a lot of sealed 
cells ready for use, he simply kills off the old queens to be 
replaced and about twenty-four hours later gives each of the 
colonies a sealed cell. In this way he avoids the bother of 
introducing queens, for the young queen will emerge in the 
hive where she is expected to remain. From there she will 
take her mating flight, and, the only further concern necessary 
on the part of the beekeeper, is to take care to replace any 
queens that are lost on their nuptial flight or that fail to emerge 

The commercial queen breeder will require a large number 
of nuclei or small colonies to care for surplus queens, until 
they are mated and ready to be mailed to customers. There 
is a large variety of hives of various sizes used for this purpose. 
Where queen breeding is the prime object, the tendency is to 
use as small hives and as few bees as possible, so that the largest 
possible number of queens may be reared with the bees and 
equipment available. However, many of the most success- 
ful queen breeders find serious objections to baby nuclei and 
small mating boxes, and advocate nothing but standard frames 
for mating-hives. 



The Rauchfuss Mating Boxes. 

Fig. 6. 
Rauchfuss Mating Box. 

This is perhaps the smallest mat- 
ing box ever devised which has been 
used successfully. Beginners or those 
with limited experience, are quite 
likely to have much difficulty from 
the bees swarming out to accompany 
the queen on her mating flight with 
any small nucleus. Even the most 
expert are never able to overcome 
this difficulty entirely. 

The Rauchfuss nucleus consists 
of a small box with removable front, 

holding three 4/ / 4x4/4 comb-honey sections, Figure 6. The 
entrance is by means of a small round hole in the front, which 
can be closed entirely, when moving them, by simply turning 
a small button. As devised by the inventor, one section of 
sealed honey is used, and sealed brood is removed from a strong 
colony and cut into squares of the right size to fill one of the 
remaining sections. The presence of the brood will in many 
cases prevent the bees from absconding when the queen takes 
her flight When used without the brood, there will be a larger 
percentage of loss from absconding. A cupful of young bees 
taken from a strong colony is sufficient to stock the box, when a 
virgin queen from a nursery cage is run in through the entrance 
hole. After the box is stocked and the young queen run in, 
the entrance is stopped. When all boxes to be stocked at one 
time are ready, all are carried to a point some distance from 
the apiary and tied in trees, set on some convenient object, or 
otherwise placed until the queens shall be mated. Of course 
the entrance should be opened as soon as conditions are favor- 
able after reaching the destination. It will be necessary to 
remove the queens from these diminutive hives soon after they 
begin to lay. Should it be inconvenient to do so at once, 
the box is provided with a piece of queen excluding zinc which 



can be turned over the entrance hole, thus preventing the queen 
from escaping, while permitting the bees to go afield. 

The great advantage of this mating box is the small first 
cost, and the small number of bees necessary to stock the nucleus. 
They are listed at about forty cents each in lots of ten. 

Baby Nuclei. 

The Root baby nucleus which is quite generally used is a 
small double hive, each side containing two frames 5^x8 inches 
in size. Three of these little frames will just fill a standard 
Langstroth frame, and to get combs built in them it is neces- 
sary to put them in Langstroth frames, and insert them in strong 
colonies of bees. Some cut up combs and fit them into the little 
frames. Entrances to the two compartments are at opposite 

Fig. 7. A baby nucleus at the Minnesota University queen-rearing 




ends of the box. About a half a pint of bees is used to stock 
each compartment. This, in effect, is very similar to the 
Rauchfuss mating box, excepting that it is necessary to go to 
more trouble to get combs built especially for these nuclei. 
There is the same trouble from absconding, and the same danger 
of being robbed by strong colonies if left within reach. During 
a good 'honey flow when all conditions are favorable, it is pos- 
sible to get a large number of queens mated in these little hives 
with a minimum of cost in bees, but during a dearth when it 
becomes necessary to feed to keep any kind of nucleus from going 
to pieces, they are likely to prove the source of much annoyance. 
See Figure 7. 

Small Hives. 

At Figure 8, we show some small hives formerly popular 
with queen breeders, but which have almost gone out of use. 
As will be seen in the picture, one is single and the other is 
double. The double one has entrances opening in opposite 
directions to avoid danger of the queen entering the wrong com- 

Fig. 8. Small mating hives in Strong queen yard. This type of hive was 

once quite generally used but is now going out of use. 

[From Productive Beekeeping.] 



These little hives hold three, and sometimes four, small 
frames. They are large enough to hold a nice little cluster 
of bees, and once established they can sustain themselves 
very nicely under favorable conditions. Mr. J. L. Strong, form- 
erly extensively engaged in queen rearing in Iowa, used these 
mating hives for about twenty-five years' with satisfaction. 
However, since the frame is an odd size, it is necessary either to 
cut up combs and fit into them, or get them built in the nucleus, 
so there is sometimes difficulty in getting them properly fitted 
out to begin with. There is really nothing to be said for them 
in preference to a standard hive divided into two or three com- 
partments, and the latter can be used for any other purpose 
as well. 

A few queen breeders use a shallow nucleus which is of the 
same length as the standard hive. In this they use shallow 
extracting frames. Although the frames are of the same size 

Fig. 9. Mating hives using shallow extracting frames. Achord queen 
yards in Alabama. 



as those used in the apiary, the top, bottom and body must be 
made especially. Nuclei of this type as used by W. D. Achord, 
of Alabama, are shown at Figure 9. Instead of the usual hive 
record, short pieces of different colors are placed at the front 
end of the cover. The position of these pieces, which .can be 
moved to any position at will, indicate the conditions within 
the hive. 

Divided Standard Hives. 

By far the greater 
number of queen breeders 
use the standard Langs- 
troth hive, divided into 
two or more parts. J. M. 
Davis, of Tennessee, di- 
vides the ordinary hive 
into four parts. This 
makes use of standard 
hive bodies, tops and bot- 
toms, but requires a spe- 
cial frame as shown in 
Figure 10. The two di- 
vision boards that are run- 
ning lengthwise are easily 
removed, thus leaving the 
hive in only two parts. 
In this way it is possible 
to unite two of the clus- 
ters at the close of the 
season, and leave them 
strong enough for winter- 
ing in that mild climate. 
There is an entrance at 
each of the four corners, 
each facing in a different 

Fig 10. Langstroth hive body direction The four corn- 
adapted for four-compartment mating 
hive, used by J. M. Davis of Tennessee, partments are lettered A, 



B, C, and D. In opening the hive he makes it a point always 
to begin at A and examine each division in regular order to 
avoid overlooking any one of them. 

At the apiary of Prof. Francis Jager where the queen breed- 
ing work of the State of Minnesota is carried on, an eight frame 
hive is divided into three parts, each part taking two standard 
frames. There is one entrance at each side, and one at an end. 
All that is necessary to make an eight frame hive into three 
nuclei, is to have two tight fitting division boards which fit 
into sawed slots at the ends. These must reach to the bottom 
to prevent the mixing of bees or the queens from passing from 
one compartment to another. It is necessary of course to fit 
the bottom board for the special purpose with entrance openings 
in the proper place. Our illustration (Figure 11) shows a small 
cover just the right size to cover one of the three compartments. 

Fig. 11. Eight-frame hive divided into three parts; each with two stand- 
ard frames, at the Jager apiary. 



This is placed over the middle division when the regular cover 
is removed, to prevent the mixing of bees while the hive is open. 

Fig. 12. Ten-frame hive divided into two parts as used for mating hives 
by Ben G, Davis of Tennessee. 


Both the eight and ten frame hives arranged in this manner are 
in general use. 

Ben G. Davis, of Tennessee, the well known breeder of 
Goldens, is an advocate of strong nuclei which are capable of 
passing through a dearth or other unfavorable season without 
much fussing on the part of the queen breeder. With five hun- 
dred or a thousand weaklings, the queen breeder finds it a very 
difficult matter to carry on operations under adverse conditions. 
Mr. Davis feels that the extra cost of these stronger nuclei is 
cheap insurance against a poor season. Figure 12 shows his 
big nuclei, where a ten frame hive is divided into two parts, 
each with four frames. These nuclei are strong enough to store 
sufficient honey to winter them successfully under normal 
conditions, and the time saved from fussing with daily feeding 
and constant attention more than repays the larger investment. 
Then there is no trouble whatever in stocking nuclei formed in 
this manner. All that is necessary in order to increase the 
number, is to remove one or two frames of emerging brood from 
a strong colony, for each nucleus, give them a queen or ripe 
cell and let them build up slowly during the summer, as one 
young queen after another is mated and permitted to begin 


Some kind of feeder will be necessary to stimulate the cell- 
starting and cell-building colonies, at such times as no honey 
is coming from the field. If small nuclei are used, it will often 
become necessary to feed them as well. Since nearly every 
apiary is provided with feeders of one kind or another, it hardly 
seems important in a work like this to enter into a discussion 
of the different types of feeders in the market, and the special 
merits of each. The Doolittle division board feeder is very 
popular among queen breeders, as is also the Alexander bottom 
feeder. However, practically every type of feeder now in the 
market is in use somewhere in a queen-breeding apiary. The 
IV-nn Company, of Mississippi, use a Mason jar with small 
holes in the metal cover. This is inverted in a round hole in 



the center of the cover of the hive, Figure 13. In passing through 
the yard, one can see at a glance the exact amount of feed avail- 
able to every colony. The feeders are easily filled and replaced 
without opening the hives, and, at the same time, place the feed 
above the cluster. 

Nursery Cages. 

During much of the season a queen breeder with an active 
trade will have no use for nursery cages. Each cell will be placed 
in a nucleus a day or two before time for the queen to emerge, 
and there she will remain until removed to fill an order to re- 
queen a colony. However, it often happens that a batch of 
cells will mature when no queenless nuclei are ready to receive 
them, and it becomes necessary to care for them otherwise 

Fig. 13. Feeding with Mason jars set in the top of hives at the Penn 

Company yards, 


for a day or two, until room can be made for them. Then 
some breeders make a practice of allowing the young queens to 
emerge in the nursery cages before placing them in the nuclei. 
In this case, cages will be necessary. 

There is a considerable percentage of loss when queens 
are permitted to remain several days in the cage. Some will 
creep back into the cell and be unable to back out again, while 
others will die from other causes. Sometimes, the bees will 
feed them through the wire cloth, but this is not to be depended 
upon, and the cages must be stocked with candy to insure 
plenty of feed within reach. Doolittle advocates smearing a 
drop of honey on the small end of the cell when placing it in 
the nursery, in order to provide the queen with her first meal 
as soon as she cuts the capping of the cell. Candy is also pro- 
vided to furnish food in sufficient quantity during the period 
that she is confined in the cage. The cages must be kept warm, 
of course, while the cells are incubating, and for this purpose 
they are usually left hanging in the hive with a strong colony. 
However, the bees will not keep the cells in cages sufficiently 
warm after the weather gets cool in late fall, nor in early spring. 
At such times it becomes necessary to provide a nursery heated 
with a lamp or other artificial heat, in which the frames of 
nursery cages can be hung. 

Some queen breeders utilize an ordinary poultry incubator 
for this purpose, maintaining it at the normal hive temper- 

E. B. Ault of Texas has fitted up an outdoor cellar with 
artificial heat for the purpose of incubating his sealed queen 



Fig. 14. 
The Alley nursery cage. 

Alley Nursery Cage. 

The Alley cage, Figure 14, is the 
most popular cage, although this may 
be because it has been so long on the 
market. A nursery frame is offered 
by supply houses which holds twenty- 
four of these cages. The larger 
hole is just the right size to take 
a cell built on a cell block. The 
block makes an effective stopper for 
the hole after the emergence of the 
young queen. Candy for provision 
is placed in the smaller hole. 

Rauchfuss Nursery Cage. 

The Rauchfuss cage has not been 
long in the market, but bids fair to come 
into general use. Figure 15 shows the 
cage and Figure 16 the frame to hold 
about three dozen of them. This cage 
Fig. 15. The Rauch- can be used for any purpose for which a 

fuss combined nursery cage j s nee ded about the apiary. The 
and introducing cage. 

hole at one end is large enough to take a 

ripe cell, while the candy at the other end can be eaten away, 
thus releasing the queen, and making it a desirable introducing 

Shipping Cages. 

The Benton mailing cage has come into almost universal 
use among queen breeders. This is used as a combined mailing 
and introducing cage. It has been found that a small cage is 
desirable for sending queens in the mail, as there is less danger 
of injury when thrown about in the mailsacks than in a larger 
cage where there is more room to be bumped about. When 
larger cages are used, where the queen and her escort must 



Fig. 16. Frame for holding Rauchfuss nursery cages. 

travel long distances, as for export trade, a correspondingly 
larger number of bees are enclosed, thus saving each other from 
the shocks incident to travel through the mails. 

Minor Equipment, such as cell blocks, cell protectors, 
etc., will be taken up in connection with the chapters relating 
to their use. 

Early Methods of Queen Rearing. 

Prior to the invention of the movable frame hive little 
progress was made in the development of beekeeping. Com- 
mercial queen rearing as now practiced has been developed 
within the memory of our older beekeepers. As soon as his 
invention of the loose frames made the control of conditions 
within the hive possible, Langstroth began to experiment in 
the hope of being able to control natural swarming, and make 
necessary increase at his convenience. At that time the only 
known method of securing additional queens, was by means 
of depriving a colony of the queen. The queenless colony in 
its anxiety to make sure of replacing the lost mother, would 
usually prepare a number of cells and rear several more queens 
than needed. The ripe cells were taken from the hive before 
the emergence of the first queen, and given to nuclei or queen- 
less colonies. As compared to present wholesale methods, this 
plan was crude and unsatisfactory. However, a careful bee- 
keeper could by this means make considerable increase artificial- 
ly, or provide young queens to replace undesirable ones. 

In the first edition of his "Hive and the Honey-Bee," 
Langstroth describes his method of queen rearing by means of 
one queen in three hives. Two hives were deprived of their 
queens which were used to make artificial swarms or nuclei, 
at intervals of a week. When the first hive had been queenless 
for nine days, there were several sealed queen cells, which were 
counted, on the tenth day these were removed for use and a 
laying queen was taken from a third hive, C, and given to the 
first hive where she was permitted to lay a few days. In the 
meantime the second hive had been made queenless and had 
built cells. When these in turn were removed the queen which 
had been taken from the third hive, C, and placed in the first 



hive, was taken from the first hive and passed on to the second. 
The hive C, from which the queen had been taken, soon had 
cells ready to remove and she was replaced in her original home. 
Here she was permitted to stay for only a short time when she 
was started a second time around the circle. By keeping the 
queen in each hive for a period of a week at one time, sufficient 
eggs were laid to prevent the rapid depletion of the stock while 
providing a sufficient number of eggs and young larvae, to insure 
queen cells when she was again removed. By this simple plan 
he was able to get a large number of young queens and at the 
same time preserve the parent colonies. Whenever possible 
the queen cells were removed intact by taking out the frame on 
which they were formed and exchanging it for another from the 
colony, to which it was desired to give the cell. At times, how- 
ever, he found it necessary to cut the cells from the combs, 
since several cells were often on the same comb. 

For a number of years no better method was developed, 
and while numerous variations of the Langstroth plan were 
described in the beekeeping literature of the time, the only way 
known to secure additional queens was by means of making a 
colony queenless and trusting them to build cells in a natural 
manner. In an. early edition of his "Manual of the Apiary," 
Cook recommended that the edges of the combs containing 
eggs or young larvae, be trimmed, or holes cut, somewhat after 
the manner known in later years as the Miller plan. 

Quinby's Method. 

Quinby practiced rearing queens by forming small nuclei 
of about a quart of bees and giving them small pieces of comb 
containing larvae not less than two, or more than three days 
old. A hole was cut in a brood comb sufficient to insert a piece 
of comb containing the larvae. This is described to be one inch 
deep and three inches long. No other brood was permitted 
in the hive. Concerning this plan he says: "I want new 
comb for the brood, as cells can be worked over out of that, 
better than from old and tough. New comb must be carefullv 


handled. If none but old, tough comb is to be had, cut the cells 
down to one-fourth inch in depth. The knife must be sharp 
to leave it smooth and not tear it." 

While practicing the method just described, he said in his 
book, that in many respects he preferred to rear queens in a 
strong colony made queenless. 

The Alley Plan. 

Henry Alley made a distinct advance when he developed his 
plan of using strips of worker comb containing eggs or just 
hatched larvae. Before describing his method of preparing these 
cells, it is best, perhaps, to outline his plan of preparing the 
bees to receive them so that his whole method may be clearly 

He recommended taking the best colony in the apiary to use 
as cell builders. After the queen had been found, her bees were 
brushed into a "swarm box," which has a wire-cloth top and 
bottom, to admit the air. "The bees should be kept queenless 
for at least ten hours in the swarming box, else the eggs given 
them for cell building will be destroyed. Soon after being put 
into it they will miss their queen and keep up an uproar until 

The bees in the swarm box were kept in a cool room or cellar 
and fed a pint of syrup. In the meantime the old hive has been 
removed and a queen rearing hive placed on the old stand. At 
night the bees are returned to the new hive on the old stand and 
given cell building material provided as follows: 

In the center of the hive containing the breeding queen an 
empty comb has been placed four days previously. This will 
now contain eggs and hatching larvae. The bees are carefully 
brushed off this comb and it is taken into a warm room to be 
cut into strips. With a thin, sharp knife, which must be kept 
warm to avoid bruising the comb, the comb is cut through every 
alternate row of cells. After the comb has been cut up into 
strips, these are laid flat on a table and the cells on one side of 
the midrib are cut down to within a quarter of an inch of the 



Fig. 17. Comb cut down for cell building, by Alley. 

septum as shown in Fig. 17. Every alternate egg or larva is 
crushed by means of a match pressed gently into the shallow 

Fig. 18. Every alternate egg is crushed with a 
match twirled between the fingers. 

cells and twirled between the thumb and finger, Fig. 18. This 
gives room enough for a queen cell over each remaining one, 
Fig. 19. A frame containing a brood comb with about one-half 

Fig. 19. Queen-cells by the Alley plan. [From Productive Beekeeping.] 

cut away is used as a foundation for the prepared strip. The 
uncut side of the strip is dipped into melted beeswax and at once 


pressed against the lower edge of the comb. It is necessary to 
use care to have this melted wax of just the right temperature 
so as not to destroy the eggs by overheating them, while at the 
same time warm enough to run readily and stick to the dry 
comb. The shallow cells, those which have been trimmed, open 
downward in the same position as a natural queen cell built 
under the swarming impulse. 

The care of the cell building colonies, emerging queens, 
etc., is the same by this method as any other and will be found 
in detail further on. See page 63. Aside from the strips of 
prepared cells, no brood will be given to the queenless bees, 
and they will concentrate their attention on building cells, 
with the result that a considerable number of fine cells will be 

Present Day Methods. 

While most queen breeders of the present day use some 
modification of the Doolittle cell cup method, a few still cling 
to the Alley plan or some modification of it. J. L. Strong, a 
well known queen breeder of Iowa, who has but recently re- 
tired, continued to follow the Alley plan in detail until the end 
of his queen breeding career. Mr. Strong was a beekeeper 
for half a century and engaged in commercial queen rearing 
for about twenty-five years. The Davis queen yards in Ten- 
nessee use a modification of this method, using drone comb 
instead of worker comb. This necessitates grafting, as with 
artificial cell cups. 

The Davis Method of Using Drone Comb. 

At the Davis yards in Tennessee, a modification of the 
Alley plan is used. Instead of cutting down worker comb in 
which eggs have already been laid as in the Alley plan, they 
cut down fresh drone comb wherever available. This neces- 
sitates grafting of larvae the same as in the cell cup method 
later to be described. Strips of new drone comb are cut down, 
as already described, and fastened to wood supports. Royal 
jelly is taken from queen cells the same as in the cell cup method, 
and a small quantity placed in each drone cell which it is desired 
to use. Worker larvae from the hive occupied by the breeding 
queen are then carefully lifted from their cells by means of a 
toothpick or grafting tool, and placed in these prepared cells. 
Every third or fourth drone cell can be used in this manner. 
These cells are given to strong colonies to be built, the same 
as by the Alley plan or cell cup plan. 




Fig. 20. A batch of finished cells 
grafted with drone comb at the Davis 

Mr. J. M. Davis 

has tried about all the 
systems so far given to 
the public during the 
nearly fifty years that 
he has been engaged in 
queen breeding. After 
giving the Doolittle cell 
cup method an extended 
trial, he abandoned it 
in favor of the plan 
above described. By 
this plan, it is possible 
to get large batches of 
fine cells, although it 
becomes necessary to 
have combs drawn 
above excluders and 
without foundation, in 
order to get a sufficient 
supply of drone comb 
for the thousands of 
cells which are built in 
a yard, doing an exten- 

Fig. 21. Cutting away cells built on drone comb. 


sive business. Figure 20 shows one batch of 37 finished cells 
by this method. Cells built by this plan are not as convenient 
to remove and place in nursery cages or mating nuclei as those 
having the wood base. These must be cut apart as in Figure 
21. This also necessitates some special means of carrying them 
about to avoid injury to the tender occupants. For this purpose 
a block with 24 holes bored in it is used at the Davis apiaries. 
As the cells are cut from the frame they are placed in the block, 
in the natural position. The block is easily carried from hive 
to hive while placing the ripe cells. Figure 22. 

&#m$m> -m? 
4& H& 

Fig. 22. The cell block enables the queen breeder to carry a batch of 
cells right side up without danger of injury. 

Natural Built Cells by the Miller Flan. 

What has, of late, been known as the Miller method of 
rearing queens, was probably not entirely original with him, 
but has been used in more or less the same form for many 
years. However, Dr. C. C. Miller has given the method new 
prominence, and brought it forcibly to public attention. In 
offering it, he did not even claim to be putting forth anything 
entirely new, but presented it as a very satisfactory method 


for the honey producer to provide himself with a limited number 
of queens with little trouble. The plan was so simple that it 
made an instant appeal, and has been widely published and 
generally used under the name of the Miller Plan. The author 
probably can present the matter in no other way so well as to 
copy Doctor Miller's original article concerning it from the 
American Bee Journal, August, 1912: 

Yet it is not necessary to use artificial cells. The plan I use for 
rearing queens for myself requires nothing of the kind. And it gives 
as good queens as can be reared. I do not say that it is the best plan 
for those who rear queens on a large scale to sell. But for the honey 
producer who wishes to rear his own queens I have no hesitation in 
recommending it. I have reared hundreds of queens by what are con- 
sidered the latest and most approved plans for queen breeders; and so 
think that I am competent to judge, and I feel sure that this simple 
plan is the best for me as a honey producer. I will give it as briefly as 

Into an empty brood frame, at a distance of two or three inches 
from each end, fasten a starter of foundation about two inches wide 
at the top, and coming down to a point within an inch or two of the bot- 
tom bar. Put it in the hive containing your best queen. To avoid 
having it filled with drone-comb, take out of the hive, either for a few 
days or permanently, all but two frames of brood, and put your empty 
frame between these two. In a week or so you will find this frame 
half filled with beautiful virgin comb, such as bees delight to use for 
queen-cells. It will contain young brood with an outer margin of eggs. 
Trim away with a sharp knife all the outer margin of comb which con- 
tains eggs, except, perhaps, a very few eggs next to the youngest brood. 
This you will see is very simple. Any beekeeper can do it the first time 
trying, and it is all that is necessary to take the place of preparing arti- 
ficial cells. 

Now put this "queen cell stuff," if I may thus call the prepared 
frame, into the middle of a very strong colony from which the queen 
has been removed. The bees will do the rest, and you will have as 
good cells as you can possibly have with any kind of artificial cells. 
You may think that the bees will start "wild cells" on their own comb. 
They won't; at least they never do to amount to anything, and, of course, 
you needn't use those. The soft, new comb with abundant room at 
the edge, for cells, is so much more to their taste that it has a practical 
monopoly of all cells started. In about ten days the sealed cells are 
ready to be cut out and used wherever desired. 

This plan is especially useful to the novice or to the bee- 
keeper wishing for but a few queens at one time. It is simple, 
easy and never failing under any normal conditions. 

Our illustration, Figure 23, shows this method with four 
strips of foundation used to start, instead of two as Doctor 
Miller suggests in his article. 


Fig. 23. Queen-cells built naturally by the Miller plan. 

Big Batches of Natural Cells by the Hopkins or Case 


Many extensive honey producers who desire to make 
short work of requeening an entire apiary, and who do not care 
to bother with mating boxes or other extra paraphernalia, make 
use of the Case method, which has been somewhat modified 
from its original form. This method is advocated by such well 
known beekeepers as Oscar Dines of New York and Henry 
Brenner of Texas. The plan was first used in Europe. 

To begin with, a strong colony is made queenless to serve 
as a cell building colony. Then a frame of brood is removed 
from the center of the brood nest of the colony containing the 
breeding queen from whose progeny it is desired to rear the 
queens. In its place is given a tender new comb not previously 
used for brood rearing. At the end of four days this should 
be well filled with eggs and just hatching larvae. If the queen 
does not make use of this new comb at once, it should not be 


removed until four days from the time when she begins to lay 
in its cells. At that time nearly all the cells should be filled 
with eggs and some newly hatched larvae. 

This new comb freshly filled is ideal for cell building pur- 
poses. The best side of the comb is used for the queen cells 
and is prepared by destroying two rows of worker cells and leav- 
ing one, beginnning at the top of the frame. This is continued 
clear across the comb. We will now have rows of cells running 
lengthwise of the comb, but if used without further preparation 
the queen cells will be built in bunches, that it will be impossible 
to separate without injury to many of them. Accordingly 
we begin at one end, and destroy two cells and leave one in each 
row, cutting them down to the midrib but being careful not to 
cut through and spoil the opposite side. Some practice destroy- 
ing three or four rows of cells, and leaving one to give more 
room between the finished queen cells. 

We now have a series of individual worker cells over the 
entire surface of the comb, with a half inch or more of space 
between them. The practice varies somewhat with different 
beekeepers beyond this point. However, this prepared sur- 
face is laid flatwise with cells facing down, over the brood nest 
of the queenless colony, first taking care to make sure that any 
queen cells they may have started are destroyed. In general, 
it is recommended that the colony be queenless about seven 
days before giving this comb. By this time there will be no 
larvae left in the hive young enough for rearing queens, and the 
bees will be very anxious to restore normal conditions. Some 
beekeepers simply take away all unsealed brood, rather than 
leave the bees queenless so long. 

As generally used, this method requires a special box or 
frame to hold the prepared comb. This is closed on one side 
to prevent the escape of heat upward and to hold the comb 
securely in place. Figure 24. Some kind of support is neces- 
sary to hold the comb far enough above the frames to leave 
plenty of room for drawing large queen cells. It is also advis- 
able to cover the comb with a cloth which can be tucked snugly 



Fig. 24. Frame for holding comb horizontally above brood-nest for 
getting queen-cells by the Case method. 

around it, to hold the heat of the cluster. By using an empty 
comb-honey super above the cluster, there is room enough for the 
prepared comb and also for plenty of cloth to make all snug and 

Strong colonies only should be used for this, as for any 
other method of queen rearing. If all conditions are favorable, 
the beekeeper will secure a maximum number of cells. From 
seventy-five to one hundred fine cells are not unusual. By 
killing the old queens a day or two before the ripe cells are given 
it is possible to requeen a whole apiary by this method with a 
minimum of labor. According to Miss Emma Wilson, it is 
possible to get very good results by this method, without mutilat- 
ing the comb, although it is probable that a smaller number of 
queen cells will be secured. By laying the comb on its side 
as practiced in this connection, the cells can be removed with a 
very slight effort and with a minimum of danger. 


The Doolittle Cell Gup Method. 

Nine queen breeders in every ten, it is safe to say, use the 
Doolittle cell cups. While it is possible to rear queens on a 
commercial scale by other methods, few queen breeders care 
to do so. One can control conditions so nicely by the use of 
artificial wax cups and can determine so nearly how many 
cells will be finished at a given time, that this method is in all 
but universal use in commercial queen breeding apiaries. Most 
of the extensive queen breeders count on turning out queens 
at a uniform rate, increasing the number as the season advances 
to keep pace with the probable demand. It is of no advantage 
to a breeder to produce five hundred ripe cells at a time when he 
has market for only a dozen queens. He estimates as nearly 
as possible the demand for the season and establishes a sufficient 
number of mating nuclei to care for the queens as they emerge. 
During the height of the season a queen is only permitted to 
lay enough eggs to enable the breeder to satisfy himself that she 
is fertile and otherwise normal. Queens thus follow each other 
in rapid succession in the various mating boxes, throughout 
the season. 

It was the difficulty of keeping up a dependable supply of 
queens to supply his increasing trade that led G. M. Doolittle 
of New York state to experiment with artificial cells. The 
successful outcome of his extended experiments has largely 
revolutionized the queen trade. They have already been in 
use for about thirty years. One can make from one hundred 
and fifty to two hundred of these wax cups per hour, so per- 
haps this plan can be followed as easily as any from the point 
of time required in the various operations. Dealers in bee 
supplies now list these artificial cells for sale at a small price, 
and many buy them already prepared. They can be used 
either with or without a wood cell base. When used without 
the base they are attached to wood strips by means of melted 
beeswax. However, the wood base is very generally used, 
since the cells can be changed about with much less danger 
of injury. A sharp pointed tack is imbedded in the base, which 



makes it very easy to attach them to frame supports on which 
they are inserted into the hives. Figure 25 shows a frame of 
newly prepared cells ready for the hive. It will be seen that a 
strip of foundation is used above the wood supporting the cell 
cups. This will soon be drawn by the bees and filled with honey. 
More often the beekeeper cuts away part of a comb already 
drawn for use in this way. 

Mr. Doolittle used a wood rake tooth as a form on which to 
mold the cells. Lacking this, a round stick about the size of a 
lead pencil, but with carefully rounded end, may be used. Bees- 
wax is melted in a small dish over a lamp or on a stove of mod- 
erate heat. It must not be kept too hot, otherwise it does not 
cool rapidly enough. A mark should be made on the stick 
nine-sixteenths of an inch from the end, and the stick dipped 
into water to prevent the wax from sticking. After giving it a 
quick jerk to throw off the water it is then dipped into the 
melted wax up to the mark. The dipping is done quickly, 
twirling the stick around as it is lifted out to distribute the 
wax evenly. As soon as the wax is sufficiently hardened, it is 
dipped again, this time not quite so deep. The form is thus 

Fig. 25. Frame of prepared cups by the Doolittle method. 


dipped again and again, each time lacking about a thirty- 
second of an inch of going as deep as before, until the base of the 
cell is sufficiently thick to make a good cell. 

These artificial cells answer the purpose as well as those 
built by the bees, and if other conditions are normal the bees 
accept them readily. If wood blocks are used they are now 
ready to be attached to the blocks, or if not, direct to the wood 
strips. Figure 25. 

For use, it becomes necessary to supply each cell cup with 
a small amount of royal jelly, and then with a toothpick or 
grafting tool carefully lift larva, not to exceed thirty-six hours 
old, from a worker cell and place it on the jelly in the prepared 
artificial cell. 

Preparation for Cells. 

Whether one uses the Alley plan or some of its modifica- 
tions, or the Doolittle cell cup method, certain stages of the 
process of getting the cells built may be the same. A supply 
of royal jelly will be necessary to begin with only where grafting, 
or changing the larvae from worker cells into prepared cells, is 
practiced. The preparation of colonies for building cells, finish- 
ing them and caring for them until ready for emergence of the 
young queens, is very similar by any of these methods. 

There are numerous variations of the treatment of colonies 
in preparation for cell building, and several of these will be 
described in an effort to treat the whole subject in a compre- 
hensive manner. 

Getting Jelly to Start With. 

If the beekeeper wishes to start cells early in the season 
before there has been any preparation for swarming, it is some- 
times difficult to secure a supply of royal jelly readily; especially 
is this true when the colonies are still weak from wintering. 
The first thing to do is to look carefully for supersedure cells, 
when making the spring examination of the apiary. Failing 
queens may be replaced at any season, and one or two cells 
will be built in anticipation of the supersedure. If a cell is 
found, this difficulty is at once disposed of, providing it is at 
the proper stage. The royal jelly is fcund in the bottom of 
the queen cells and is a thick white paste, very similar in appear- 
ance to the paste ordinarily used for library purposes or mount- 
ing photographs. Sometimes, when it is quite thick, it is de- 
sirable to thin it slightly by the addition of a small quantity of 
saliva or a drop of warm water. Only a minute amount of 


jelly is placed in each of the prepared cups, so that a well sup- 
plied queen cell will provide a sufficient quantity to supply 
thirty to fifty of them. 

If no cells containing jelly are found, the usual plan is to 
remove the queen from a vigorous colony and permit them to 
start cells. The author very much dislikes to remove queens 
except when absolutely necessary, and prefers some other 
plan. A simple way is to place a wire cloth over the top of a 
strong colony in place of the cover. On this set a hive body 
containing at least three frames of brood in the various stages, 
being sure that there is no queen on the frames, and that there 
is plenty of newly hatched larvae. All adhering bees should be 
left on the combs. The cover is then placed over all and the 
hive left closed for two days, when there will be an abundant 
supply of royal jelly available. 

The Author's Plan. 

The author, not being engaged in queen rearing commer- 
cially, can choose a favorable time for rearing such queens as 
are necessary to make increase or for requeening. While the 
method seldom fails even under unfavorable conditions with 
him, it is very possible that it might not be .satisfactory under 
some conditions. 

To begin with, the queen is found and placed, on the comb 
on which she is, in an empty hivebody. Sometimes the remain- 
der of the space is filled with empty drawn combs, sometimes 
one or more frames of brood are added, as circumstances dic- 
tate. The hivebody containing the queen is then placed on 
the hivestand in the position where the colony had already been 
placed. Above the hivebody containing the queen is placed a 
queen excluder, to prevent the queen from going above. If 
the weather is warm so that there is no longer any danger 
of chilling brood from dividing the cluster into two parts, an 
empty set of extracting combs is placed over the excluder. 
The original hive containing most of the brood is now placed 
on top of this empty chamber. Twenty-four hours later the 


bees are given a frame of cellcups containing larvae. These 
cups are placed in the hive in the same manner as usual, except 
that they have no royal jelly. A thin syrup made with sugar 
and water or honey thinned with water is then poured freely 
over the tops of these frames. The worker bees gorge them- 
selves freely with the syrup and, since the brood in the upper 
chamber is so far from the queen below, the bees are easily 
stimulated to start queen cells. Usually from one to three of 
these dry cells will be accepted, and two days later will furnish 
an abundant supply of royal jelly for grafting purposes. A 
second lot of cells is now prepared with jelly, and these are 
given to the bees in the upper story in the same manner. Syrup 
is poured over the frames as freely as before, with the result 
that a large portion of the cells are likely to be accepted. The 
author does not claim that the idea is altogether original with 
him, but simply outlines it as his method of practice. Feeding 
the bees freely at the time of giving a batch of cells is rather 
common practice among the queen breeders in certain localities. 
By this method, it is easily possible to secure a supply of royal 
jelly without dequeening a colony or interfering with the laying 
of the queen. If it is too cold to place an empty super between 
the brood nest and the brood in the upper story, the plan will 
usually work with only the excluder between. After the weather 
becomes warm enough, it is easily possible to continue building 
cells indefinitely above the same colony, by lifting the brood 
above as fast as sealed in the brood nest. The young bees 
emerging in the upper chamber continue to supply nurses as 
needed. It will be readily apparent that to be successful this 
plan requires a strong colony. 

Transferring the Larvae. 

Some beekeepers make a practice of placing a frame of 
cellcups in the hive over night in advance of the grafting. The 
idea is that the bees will work them over, smooth and polish 
them, thus placing them in more attractive condition for the 
acceptance of the prepared cells. The author has never been 


able to convince himself that this plan brings enough better 
results, in practice, to justify the extra trouble, where large 
numbers of queens are to be reared. 

The cellcups are placed in the wood bases and fastened in 
place as shown in Figure 25. Commercial queen breeders 
usually have two or three bars of cells in each frame instead of 
only one. About fifteen cellcups to each bar is not unusual, 
so that with a liberal number accepted it is often possible to 
get from thirty to forty finished cells in each batch. Figure 26. 

At this stage the grafting house described on page 31 is 
very desirable. The queen cells from which the royal jelly 
is to be taken, together with the prepared cellcups and a frame 
of newly hatching brood from the breeding colony are now taken 
to the grafting house or into a warm room for the final prepara- 
tion. For transferring the jelly and the larvae, there are spe- 
cially prepared tools in the market. These look very much like 
knitting needles w T ith one end flattened and slightly bent to 
one side. However, one can do very well with a quill cut down 
to a strip about a sixteenth of an inch in width, with the end 
bent in similar manner. Even a toothpick can be made to 
serve -quite well. 

An ingenious device for transferring larvae is described by 
John Grubb of Woodmont, Pa. He uses a small stick of wood 
about three-sixteenths of an inch thick and four inches long, 
one end of which is whittled down to a long tapering point. 
A long horsehair is doubled, then twisted together, and doubled 
again. Both ends are laid on the stick, the circular center 
extending beyond the end. Fine thread is wrapped around the 
hair and the stick, to hold all firmly. The doubled hair makes 
a circle about a tenth of an inch in diameter beyond the pointed 
end of the stick. With this horsehair spoon it is an easy mat- 
ter to, lift a larva from a cell and transfer it to a cellcup. It 
is easily and quickly made and materials necessary are usually 
within easy reach. 

First a bit of royal jelly is placed in each cellcup, and then 
a larva about twenty-four to thirty-six hours old is carefully 
lifted from its cell and placed on the jelly. There is some 



Fig. 26. A batch of cells by the cell-cup method. 



difference of opinion as to the proper age of larvae, but all 
agree that larvae more than three days old should never be 
used. Nobody holds that better queens can be reared from 
larvae two days old than from younger larvae, although some 
think that as good results can be obtained. The majority seem 
to favor larvae from twelve to twenty-four hours old, with some 

Fig. 27. Larvae not to exceed thirty-six hours old should be used for 



strong advocates of thirty-six hours as the proper age. Figure 
27. However, it may safely be said that twenty-four to thirty- 
six hours is as old as larvae should be for this purpose. Prob- 
ably up to this age as good or better results will be obtained as 
from the use of younger ones. 

Something has already been said about the importance 
of selecting the breeding stock carefully. This is a vital mat- 
ter if good results are to come from the breeder's work. The 
larvae used in grafting should be the product of the best queen 

At Figure 27 we show the magnified larvae in the cells 
at about the proper age for grafting. Sladen recommends 
that larvae not quite as large as a lettuce seed be used. With 
a little experience one will soon come to tell readily the ap- 
proximate age of the larvae by the appearance. 


Getting Cells Started. 

For building cells 
one must have strong 
colonies, Figure 28, and 
to insure this condition, 
one must have his bees 
in good shape in early 
spring. While it is of- 
ten advocated that 
stimulative feeding be 
resorted to early, in 
order to build the col- 
onies up to a sufficient 
strength, the author in- 
clines to the belief that 
colonies in two stories 
will build up just as 
rapidly if there is an 
abundance of sealed 
honey in the hive, as is 
possible with stimula- 
tive feeding. Sometimes it seems that uncapping a portion 
of the honey has a stimulating effect, but feeding in small 
quantities, for the purpose of stimulating the bees to greater 
activity, rarely seems necessary until the time comes to give 
them the cells. At this time feeding is often needed in order 
to get large batches accepted and finished. When honey 
is coming in from natural sources, feeding is, of course, unneces- 

The real problem is to get the bees into the right temper 
to accept the cells readily, and finish a large portion of them 
properly. This point has been touched upon rather indirectly, 


Fig. 28. Only strong colonies should be 
used for building or finishing cells. 


already, under the discussion of the various methods. A strong 
colony which is preparing to supersede the queen is very desir- 
able at this time. Such a colony will accept cells readily and 
will supply them with royal jelly abundantly. No better cells 
can be had than those built in a supersedure colony. It will 
pay to look through the apiary very carefully in search of such 
a colony, rather than to resort to artificial conditions. A colony 
which is preparing to swarm, will do very well, also, only they 
must be watched carefully, to make sure that a swarm does 
not issue as soon as the cells are sealed. When a colony is 
found to have queen cells already built which contain eggs or 
larvae, these cells may be destroyed and a frame of prepared 
cells given. Little attention need be paid to the presence of 
the queen, for she will not disturb the new cells under such con- 

If no colony is to be had which is already in the cell-build- 
ing notion, it then becomes necessary to stimulate the cell- 
building instinct artificially. There are several methods of 
doing this. 

Removing Queen and Brood. 

Probably the most generally practiced method is to take 
a strong colony, and remove the queen and all unsealed brood. 
Empty combs and those which contain only honey and pollen 
are left in the hive. The queen should be placed in a nucleus, 
or given to another colony where needed. All bees should be 
carefully brushed from the combs containing the brood in order 
to leave as large a force of nurse bees as possible. The brood 
is then given to another colony to be cared for. 

About ten or twelve hours later the bees will be in the mood 
to build queen cells. Being without brood, the nurse bees 
will be abundantly supplied with food for the larvae, and will 
accept a batch of prepared cells very eagerly. 

When giving the cells, it is well to follow the practice of 
some of the most extensive breeders and feed liberally at the 
moment, to insure a larger portion of cells accepted. For this 
purpose an ordinary garden sprinkler serves very well. Thin 


sugar syrup is sprinkled freely over the tops of the frames as 
described previously. The bees gorge themselves in cleaning 
up the syrup and anxiously seek larvae to be fed. This method 
of feeding is desirable at the time of giving cells by any method. 

Some breeders leave the prepared cells in the colony to 
which they are first given until they are sealed. However, a 
larger number of first class cells will usually be secured by work- 
ing two colonies together, one as a cell-building colony and the 
second as a cell-finishing colony. The cell-finishing colony 
should be equally strong with the cell-starting colony, but not 
all the brood is taken from it. At the time that the brood is 
taken from the first colony, part of the brood is removed from 
another, and the remainder raised above an excluder, leaving 
the queen in the brood nest below on one frame of brood, and 
with empty combs in which to continue laying. This we will 
call the finishing colony. 

Twenty-four hours after the prepared cells have been given 
to the queenless and broodless bees in the cell-starting hive, we 
will probably find most of the cells partly built, and the larvae 
abundantly supplied with royal jelly. If we leave them as 
they are, some of these cells are likely to be neglected, so that 
not all will come to maturity. We may now safely remove these 
cells and after carefully brushing off the nurse bees with a 
feather, give them to the cell-finishing colony, placing the frames 
above the excluder. By this time the bees in the second colony 
will have been forty-eight hours separated from the 'queen 
which still remains below the excluder. Since no eggs have 
been laid with the brood above for this period, the bees are 
in much the same condition as a colony with a failing queen 
and accordingly accept the cells as readily, as a rule, as a super- 
sedure colony will do. 

When the batch of started cells is taken from the starting 
colony, it is given a second lot of newly prepared cells. This 
may be repeated regularly for some time. However, the same 
bees cannot serve as nurses for very long and it will be necessary 



to supply the starting 
colony with frames of 
sealed brood ready to 
emerge at frequent in- 
tervals if the same col- 
ony is used as a cell- 
starting colony for more 
than ten days. ^Usually 
the number of cells ac- 
cepted in each batch 
will soon begin to di- 
minish, so that it will 
be desirable to prepare 
another colony for this 
purpose after eight or 
ten days. 

There is a great 
difference in individual 
colonies as to the num- 
ber of cells built, and 
it sometimes becomes 

necessary to experiment a bit to find the best_colonies for this 
purpose. Some colonies will build double the number of cells 
that others will build. An extensive breeder will find it neces- 
sary to have several cell-building colonies at one time. Figure 
29 shows a strong cell-finishing colony at the Davis apiary in 

The Swarm Box. 

Alley used much the same plan as above described, except 
that he first found the queen and then shook all the bees into 
a swarm box which is made by placing a wirecloth bottom and 
cover on an ordinary box of suitable size. The bees were 
smoked before shaking them into the box to induce them to 
gorge themselves with honey, and then they were confined in 
the box from morning until evening. The wirecloth admits 
plenty of air and by the time the bees are placed in a hive for 

Fig. 29. A strong cell-finishing colony. 


cell building, they will recognize their hopelessly queenless con- 
dition, and be ready to accept the prepared cells with little 
delay. Alley gave eggs in strips of natural comb, instead of 
the prepared cells, it will be remembered, but the principle 
is the same. He left the bees queenless in the swarm box for 
at least ten hours. He also fed the bees syrup while confined 
in the box. 

Rearing Queens in Queenright Colonies. 

The author prefers to rear queens in a queenright colony, 
since it is not so difficult to maintain normal conditions over a 
long period of time, and the bees are not so sensitive to fluctua- 
tions in weather conditions or honeyflow. It is not always 
possible to make a success with the first batch of cells given 
by this plan, but once accepted the same colony can be kept 
busy rearing cells for weeks, or even all summer if desired. 

One plan which is followed by successful breeders is to 
select a strong colony for cell building. Remove the cover, 
and put a queen excluder in its place. Then take enough 
frames of brood from several different colonies to fill a second 
brood-chamber above the excluder, leaving one vacant space. 
Care must be used to make sure that no queen is on the frames 
placed in the second story. The vacant space is left as near 
the center of the colony as possible, and a few hours later a 
frame of prepared cells is placed there, feeding the bees with 
syrup from the sprinkling can at the time the cells are given. 
If this first batch of cells is not readily accepted try again the 
following day. After four days a second batch can be given, 
and a new batch every four days thereafter. By this plan the 
cells are left with the colony until ready to be given to the 
nuclei. It only becomes necessary to add two or three frames 
of sealed brood every week to provide the colony with plenty 
of young bees for nurses, to continue cell building indefinitely. 
About ten to fifteen sealed cells can be secured from a single 
colony every four days by this plan. If a heavy honeyflow comes 
on, it may become necessary to add supers between the brood 


nest below and the cell-building chamber above, since the old 
queen continues to lay in normal manner below the excluder. 
By this method the cell-building colony will give a crop of honey 
as well as queens. The addition of so much brood from other 
colonies will keep the cell-building colony very strong through- 
out the season. Of course, frames of honey must be removed 
from time to time as frames of brood are given, and, during a 
good flow, it may become necessary to remove frames of 
honey quite often to prevent crowding in the cell-building 


During a dearth of nectar it often becomes necessary to 
resort to stimulative feeding to induce the bees to continue 
cell building by any of these methods. Of course, a queenless 
colony will build some cells under almost any conditions, but 
to get good cells in sufficient numbers, a fresh supply of food 
must continue coming to the hive daily. If there is none in the 
field a pint or more of thin syrup should be fed daily, preferably 
at night, to prevent robbing. 

Care of Finished Cells. 

About four days after the prepared cell cups are given 
to the bees, the finished cells will be sealed, Figure 30. If the 
weather is warm they may be placed in cages and transferred 
to other colonies for safe keeping, until time for the young 
queens to emerge. However, in cool weather, there is danger 
that the young queens will be chilled and injured, if the cells 
are placed in cages so that the nurses can no longer warm them 
by direct contact. Most breeders leave the cells to the care 
of the bees until the evening of the ninth day. The cells are 
then caged or given directly to the nuclei, where they are to be 

Fig. 30. Finished cells by the Doolittle method, 



mated. In general, it is better to place the cell at once in 
the nucleus. 

Great care must always be used in handling sealed queen 
cells. Any slight jar is likely to dislodge the nymph from its bed 
of royal jelly and injure it seriously. The bees which may cluster 
about the cells may be driven off by smoking them or by care- 
fully brushing them away. The longer the cells are left undis- 
turbed, the less the danger of injury to the young queens. The 
bees should never be shaken from a frame containing queen 

It is necessary to separate cells built by the Alley plan by 
cutting with a sharp knife. The knife should be kept warm 
to get best results. Otherwise, instead of cutting freely it may 
simply crush the wax and injure a cell. Figure 21 shows how 
the cells may be cut apart. 

It is important, also, to keep the cells right side up at all 
times. Some breeders use a cell block such as may be seen at 
Figure 22. This enables the breeder to carry a whole batch 
to the apiary to be placed, one at a time, in the nuclei, without 
danger of injuring them. 

It often happens that a batch of cells will be ripe and the 
nuclei not yet ready to receive them for one reason or another. 
In that case, candy should be placed in the nursery cages, and 
the cells placed in them on the ninth or tenth day after the cells 
are given to the bees. It should be remembered that the queens 
will emerge on the fifteenth or sixteenth day after the eggs were 
laid. Should a virgin queen emerge before the cells are removed 
and cared for, she is likely to destroy at once all that remain. 
Thus all the beekeeper's labor is for naught. 

It is necessary to exercise some care in extremely hot weath- 
er to avoid overheating the cells when carrying them about in 
the hot sun. Well known queen breeders admit having lost 
valuable cells on more than one occasion by overheating through 
exposure to direct sunshine on a hot day. 

In placing the cells in the nuclei the cell should be gently 
pushed into the side of a comb just above the brood, if there is 
brood. However, it often happens that no brood is present 



Fig 31. Placing cell in nucleus without brood. 

in a nucleus when a cell is placed. In that event it should be 
set into the comb near the center of the hive. Figure 31. 

Use of Cell Protectors. 

If a nucleus has been queenless for 
twelve hours when a ripe cell is introduced, 
there will seldom be any need for using 
protectors. However, it often happens 
that the breeder will have ripe cells ready 
which he wishes to place as fast as the 
queens are removed. When the bees 
destroy queen cells they do so by opening 
the cell at the side, and never from the 

Fig. 32. 
C ell protectors. 



end. Taking advantage of this fact a wire protector has been 
made which remains open at the end, thus permitting the queen 
to emerge without further attention, Figure 32. By the time 
the queen is ready to emerge, the bees will discover the absence 
of the old queen and the newcomer will be welcomed. 

Formation of Nuclei. 

In the chapter on equipment for queen rearing, the various 
styles of mating boxes and hives have been described. If 
the standard hive is used, the formation of nuclei is a simple 
matter. As many colonies as may be needed to make the de- 
sired number of nuclei are broken up, and the combs together 
with adhering bees are placed in the nuclei. One frame with 
the old queen is left in the old hive, and it is usually well to 
leave a second frame of brood with her, to enable her to build 

Fig. 33. A queen-mating yard composed of standard hives, each divided 

into two parts. 


up the colony again more rapidly. The rest of the space is 
filled with empty combs. One frame of brood and bees, to- 
gether with one empty comb or one containing honey, is placed 
in each nucleus, Figure 33. The entrance is then stopped with 
grass to prevent the escape of the bees for several hours. By 
the time they have gnawed their way out they will become 
accustomed to the new condition, and most of them will remain 
in the new position. Unless the frame given is well supplied 
with brood, it is desirable to give two frames to each nucleus. 

A day or two later sealed queen cells may be given safely. 
As the season advances, the demand for queens increases, and 
the breeder will find it necessary to increase the number of 
mating nuclei. As each queen is allowed to lay for a short 
time in the nucleus before caged for shipment, many of the 
nuclei will build up rapidly. From time to time one will be 
found which can spare a frame of brood and bees as already 
described. At the close of the season these nuclei are united 
to make them strong enough to winter as full colonies. 

Stocking Mating Boxes or Baby Nuclei. 

Much difficulty is sometimes experienced in getting the 
bees to stay in these small hives. The plan usually recommended 
is to shake the bees into a wirecloth cage and confine them 
there for several hours. Four or five hours later run in a virgin 
queen among them. At nightfall, shake them into the mating 
box and leave them undisturbed for a few days. Some of the 
old bees may return to their former hive the next morning, 
but most of them are likely to remain. There is some danger 
that they may swarm out with the queen when she comes 
out for her mating flight. However, after one queen has been 
successfully mated and there is some brood in the little hive, 
there will be less trouble with the next one. These little hives 
must be watched to make sure that they do not at any time 
become short of food, otherwise they sometimes swarm out and 
leave the brood. 

The available space is so small that the queen can be left 


but a very short time. The two little combs are soon filled 
with eggs and with no more room to lay, the queen may lead a 
small swarm, and thus desert the hive. 

Another plan of stocking these hives is to shake a lot of 
bees from several hives into a box with wirecloth top and bottom 
similar to the Alley swarm box, and keep them confined for 
several hours. It is desirable that these bees be brought from 
a distance, if possible. When ready to stock the mating hives, 
wet the bees enough to prevent flying readily and dip them out 
with a tin dipper, turning a sufficient quantity into each com- 
partment. A supply of virgin queens is ready at hand, and as 
each compartment is filled, a virgin is dropped into a dish of 
honey and then into the compartment with the bees. The 
entrance is opened at night to prevent the loss of bees before 
the excitement subsides. This is the plan practiced at the 
Root yards. 

Combining Mating with Making of Increase. 

The usual methods of artificial increase, such as division 
or formation of nuclei to be built up, weaken the colony to a 
considerable extent. Should the season prove unfavorable 

Fig. 34. A queen-rearing apiary in Tennessee. 


after nuclei are formed, it may be necessary to feed them for 
a long period of time, only in the end to find it necessary to 
unite them again to get them strong enough for winter. Get- 
ting queens mated in an upper story is not new; yet there are some 
elements in the following plan which differ somewhat from 
methods previously given to the public. 

The author has experimented to a limited extent in the 
hope of finding a plan which takes nothing from the parent 
colony, other than the honey necessary to rear the brood com- 
posing the new colony. There is no risk, since the old colony 
is not weakened by removing part of the field force, and the 
division is not made until the new colony is strong enough to 
shift for itself under almost any conditions. The following 
plan comes near realizing this ideal, having been uniformly 
successful in a limited way, even under unfavorable conditions. 
This is the outgrowth of a system of swarm control in the pro- 

Fig. 35. Queen-mating nuclei under the pine trees of Alabama. 


duction of extracted honey, as described in Productive Beekeep- 

If the extracted honey producer can keep his colony to- 
gether during the season, he should be able to get maximum 
results. Some increase is necessary in most any apiary, with 
any kind of system, to replace such colonies as are lost through 
failing queens, poor wintering or other causes, even though 
the beekeeper does not care to make extensions. 

If the bees can be kept from swarming and the young 
queen be mated in a separate compartment, she can rear her 
own colony in due time, and they can be removed without 
reducing the product of the old queen, whose progeny will 
remain with the parent colony. 

To begin with, when the colony becomes populous, place 
the queen on a frame of brood in an empty hivebody and fill 
out with empty combs. This is set on the regular hivestand 
occupied by the colony. The working force coming from the 
field will find their queen with an abundance of room in which 
to lay. This is the system of swarm control advocated by 
Demaree to this point. Now place a queen excluder over the 
hivebody containing the queen, and over this, a super of empty 
combs. On top of these is set the original hivebody contain- 
ing the brood. A hole is bored in this upper hivebody to give 
the bees an extra entrance above. About twenty-four hours 
later a ripe queen cell is placed in the upper story with the 
brood. The queen will emerge in a day or two, and, in due 
time, will leave the hive on her mating flight, by way of the 
augur hole. Within a few days more she will be laying in the 
upper hivebody, while the activities of the bees will continue 
without interruption in the lower story. Within three weeks 
all the brood from the old queen (in the upper story) will have 
emerged. The brood which now appears in the upper story 
is a net addition to the resources of the colony, and, when the 
upper story is nearly filled with brood, it can be removed and 
placed on a new stand without checking the work of the colony. 

To illustrate: A strong colony was given a queen cell 
as above described on May 21st. On July 14th, the upper 


hivebody with a young queen and seven frames of brood were 
removed to form a new colony. The strength of the parent 
colony was little affected apparently. Possible swarming had 
been prevented, temporarily at least, by the Demaree plan 
of placing the old queen in the empty hive below. There were 
two colonies better than any parent colony and swarm we had 
that season. In this way there had been no risk or loss. The 
new colony was not removed from its parent until both were 
provided for, neither was the possible crop cut short by dividing 
the working force of the parent colony at a critical time. 

After three years of success with this method the author 
feels confident that it will prove successful on a large scale. 
Both queens can be left in the hive until the close of the honey- 
flow if desired, but there is little to be gained by leaving the 
queen above after her chamber is filled with brood. If both 
are left in the hive until late in the fall, one of the queens is 
likely to disappear. 

If desired, the process can be repeated as soon as the upper 
story has been removed, as by this time the old queen will have 
filled the lower story with brood again. By beginning early, 
it should be possible to make two and possibly three new colonies, 
without reducing the honey crop from the parent colony to a 
serious extent. 

This same plan might be used for the purpose of mating 
additional queens while making some increase, by the breeder 
who wishes to accomplish both ends at the same time. The 
method is particularly valuable to the honey producer who wish- 
es to make some increase or rear queens for use in his own apiary, 
without reducing the honey crop. If increase is not especially 
desired, the same plan can be worked for the purpose of super- 
seding queens. When the young queen has become nicely 
established in the upper chamber, the old queen can be removed 
from below and the position of the bodies reversed. It would 
be well to permit both queens to continue laying until the height 
of the honeyflow, in order to get as large a field force as possible 
for storing the crop. 

Shipping Queens. 

The Benton cage, Figure 36, is almost universally used in 
this country for shipping purposes. So generally is it used, 

that it is as staple as any other item 
of beekeeping equipment, and can be 
purchased through any dealer in 
supplies. While cages ready stocked 
with candy are offered for sale, most 
queen breeders prefer to make their 
Fig. 36. Qwn canc [y anc j th us save some cost, 

The Benton mailing cage. 

as well as making it fresh as needed. 

Making the Candy. 

Candy for queen cages is made of honey and sugar. Under 
the postal regulations it is necessary to boil the honey for at 
least thirty minutes, unless the apiary from which it and the 
queens are taken has been inspected by some duly qualified 
officer, who is authorized to issue a certificate of health. 

Care must be used, also, to make sure that the sugar used 
contains no starch. Powdered sugar is used for candy making, 
and some powdered sugar contains starch, which is detrimental 
to the bees confined for long in the cages. 

Heat the honey and stir in as much of the powdered sugar 
as can be mixed in by stirring. When no more can be added 
by stirring, spread the powdered sugar on a mixing board and 
remove the dough to the board and mix it like a batch of bis- 
cuits. Some experience is necessary to determine when it is 
just the right consistency, neither too hard nor too soft. 

According to Root, boiled honey as required by the postal 
regulations, does not give satisfactory results where queens are 
confined for long journeys. Since the idea of the regulation is 



to prevent the spread of disease through the honey, he recom- 
mends the use of invert sugar as a substitute for the honey. 

Another kind of candy made without the use of honey, 
is used by some breeders. This is made by using 12 pounds of 
granulated sugar, 1^ pounds candy-makers' glucose, \y^ 
quarts of water and y$ teaspoonful of cream of tartar. The 
cream of tartar and glucose are added to the water and heated 
together in a kettle. The sugar is added after the mixture 
comes to a boil, stirring continually while putting in the sugar. 
After the sugar has all been dissolved, stop stirring and let it 
heat to 238 degrees. Then remove from the fire and let cool 
to 120 degrees, and stir again until it looks like paste, when it is 
ready for use. 

Caging the Queens. 

With a few trials, one will shortly get the knack of catching 
a queen off the comb by her wings. Holding the cage open end 
downward in one hand, it is easy to so place her head in the open- 
ing that she will catch her front feet on the wood, and readily 
climb up into the cage. When she goes in, the thumb should 
be placed over the opening until a worker is caught, and ready 
to follow in similar manner. The novice at queen rearing often 
makes the mistake of placing too few bees in the cage with a 
queen. It is well to place as many workers in the cage as there 
is room for, without crowding, especially if the journey to be 
taken is a long one. As a rule the queen will be the last to die, 
if the bees are in normal condition when placed in the cage. 
It often happens that queens received from a distant place are 
still alive, with all their attendant workers dead in the cage. 
Of course the queen would not much longer survive after the 
workers were all dead. If the candy is properly made and suffi- 
cient in quantity, a queen will often live for several weeks in 
a cage, with sufficient attendants. 

After queens are caged they should be placed in the mails as 
quickly as possible to avoid confining them longer than is neces- 
sary. Although they live for a considerable time in the cages, 
one can hardly believe that the confinement is conducive to 


the health of the queen, and the shorter the time necessary 
to get her to her destination, the better. 

What the Buyer has a Right to Expect. 

When a man sends his money for a queen in response to 
an advertisement, he has a right to expect that no inferior 
queens be sent, even though he buy untested stock. Some 
breeders have the reputation of sending out mismated queens 
that have been laying for a period long enough to show the fact, 
as untested queens. While few breeders guarantee that un- 
tested queens will be purely mated, to knowingly send out mis- 
mated stock, to fill orders for untested queens, is certainly 
dishonest. It is needless to say that no reputable breeder would 
do so. The breeder who expects to establish a paying business 
has no asset so valuable as the confidence of his customers, 
and this is only secured by sending out good stock and standing 
ready to be more than reasonable in making good any losses. 

The buyer has reason to expect that he will receive pure 
queens, carefully reared; that the breeder shall maintain his 
mating nuclei in localities as free as possible from impure stock, 
and entirely free from disease. 


There is a great difference in the practice of different breed- 
ers in the way queens are graded. Some advertise only three 
grades, untested, tested and select tested queens. Others 
make five or more grades, adding select-untested queens and 
breeders. There should be some effort made to establish a 
standard by which a buyer can tell in advance what he is likely 
to get from an order for any one of these grades. 

In general, an untested queen is one which has been mated 
and has been permitted to lay for a few days, but not long 
enough for the emergence of the workers. Breeders who 
make it a rule to send out all queens which are reared, regardless 
of quality, are not likely to build up a permanent business. 


No poor queens should be sent out in any case, except by special 
understanding, and then not for breeding purposes. There 
is a small demand for queens for scientific purposes, which can 
be supplied with mismated or otherwise inferior stock without 
injury to anyone. Such queens should never be sent to a bee- 
keeper for introduction into normal colonies for honey pro- 

A tested queen is generally one which has been permitted 
to lay until her workers begin to emerge, and thus by their 
markings demonstrate the pure mating of their mother. She 
should properly demonstrate other qualities also. Select- 
tested and extra select- tested or choice select-tested queens are, of 
course, queens which for one reason or another are more promis- 
ing than the average of tested queens. Too many grades 
offers a good chance for the breeder to get an extra price from 
a buyer, without giving an equivalent in value. It is very true 
that queens showing unusual traits are worth more than the gen- 
eral run of queens, but it is difficult to grade the different de- 
grees of behaviour into a half dozen different classes and always 
give a uniform value. 

Virgin queens, are of course, unmated queens. While 
there may be occasionally a good reason for the purchase of 
virgins, as a rule the practice is not to be encouraged. The 
difficulty of introducing a virgin after she is several days old 
and consequent danger of loss, is one good reason why they 
should not be shipped. The danger that they will become too 
old for mating before a favorable opportunity is offered, is 
another. The breeder who confines his business principally 
to the sale of untested queens, and who gives good value for the 
price asked, is the one who has the fewest complaints. 

Much dissatisfaction arises from the sale of breeding queens 
at high prices. The buyer who pays five or ten dollars for a 
breeding queen, will too often expect too much of her, and, 
consequently, be disappointed. Then it often happens that a 
queen old enough to demonstrate her value as a breeder, will be 
superseded shortly after her introduction into a strange colony. 


Queens that have been laying heavily suffer seriously from the 
confinement in a small cage and the journey through the mails. 
Often they will never do as well for the buyer as they have 
done previously, and he is inclined to feel that he has not been 
treated fairly. As a rule, the same money invested in young 
untested queens, will bring far better results to the buyer, as 
well as being better for the seller. If a half dozen young queens 
are purchased from a breeder with good stock, at least one of 
them is quite likely to prove excellent. The best queen that 
the author ever has known he secured as an untested queen at a 
nominal price. There is probably no extensive queen rearing 
yard which would part with as good a queen for fifty dollars 
after she had demonstrated her value. In fact, she would not 
be for sale at any price, for she would be too valuable as a breed- 
er. Yet the chances are that, after she had demonstrated her 
ability by outdoing everything else in the apiary for three suc- 
cessive seasons, she would be superseded within a few weeks 
after being sent through the mails. 

Buyers should bear in mind that old queens which have 
laid heavily for one or more seasons, cannot be expected to re- 
peat their former performances after a journey by mail. Such 
queens can only be shipped safely on combs in a nucleus, where 
they can continue laying lightly for some time. Someone has 
compared the sudden checking of the work of a laying queen, 
with the shipment of a cow, which is a heavy milk'er, without 
drawing her milk for several days. Neither can be expected 
to be as good again. 


The Introduction of Queens. 

In order to be successful in the introduction of queens, it is 
necessary to overcome the antagonism of the colony toward 
a stranger. It must be borne in mind that, normally, a strange 
bee will be recognized as an enemy or a robber and at once 
driven out or killed. In order that the queen be welcomed 
as a member of the community, it is necessary that she be 
permitted to acquire the colony odor, and that she become some- 
what familiar with her new surroundings so that she will not 
manifest, by her own excitement, the fact that she is a stranger. 
There are many indications of the colony odor and, in the absence 
of proof to the contrary, it is safe to assume that the bees depend 
upon this common odor as a means of identification of the mem- 
bers of the community. 

There are many different methods of introduction of queens, 
which are followed with greater or lesser degrees of success. 
All these methods may be divided into two classes: those which 
depend upon the confinement of the queen until she acquires 
the common characteristics of the hive, as the cage methods; 
and those which create such an abnormal condition and so much 
confusion in the hive, that the undue excitement of one or more 
individuals will not be noticed, as the smoke or other direct 

Under the first plan, the bees are at first antagonistic to the 
new queen, which is recognized as a stranger, but are unable 
to reach her because of the barrier furnished by the screen 
covering the cage. After a time the bees recognize the fact 
that no other queen is present in the hive, the antagonism dis- 
appears, and she is accepted as the natural mother of the com- 

Under any method in the second class, the colony is thrown 
into a state of excitement and uproar, to such an extent that the 
agitation and fear manifested by the new queen, upon finding 




Fig. 37. The Miller introducing cage, 

herself in a strange hive, will not be apparent to the bees, since 
they are also in a state of confusion. By the time the excite- 
ment subsides, the foreign odor of the new queen will no longer 
be apparent, and she will settle down to the business of egg lay- 
ing as though she had always been present in the hive. By this 
method it is the usual way to remove the old queen either 
shortly before or just at the time the new queen is introduced. 

Details of Cage Methods. 

All the variations of the cage method are comparatively 
simple. The old queen is first removed from the hive and the 

new one is introduced 
in a cage, Figure 37. 
Probably the safest 
method of all is the 
one where the queen is 
placed alone in a cage that covers a small patch of emerging 
brood. The emerging bees are, of course, friendly enough, 
and within two or three days she will be laying in her small 
enclosure and surrounded by a small group of attendants 
who found her present when they emerged. The cage is then 
carefully removed, and the comb replaced in the hive with as 
little disturbance as possible. Such a cage is made with a 
piece of ordinary wirecloth about four inches square, sometimes 
smaller. Each of the four corners is cut away for about three 
quarters of an inch. The four sides are then bent down, 
forming a wire box open at the bottom. The queen is placed 
under this and the wire pressed into the comb. It is well to 
have a few cells of sealed honey inside the cage, although the 
bees are likely to feed the queen through the meshes of the cage. 
When this plan is used in a hive where no brood is present, 
some newly emerged workers should be placed in the cage with 
the queen. The attitude of the bees toward the queen will 
determine when it is safe to release her. If on opening the hive, 
the cage is found to be covered with a tight cluster of bees, she 
would be balled immediately if released. When the bees are 



found to be paying but little attention to her presence, it is 
usually safe to remove the cage. 

The Benton mailing cages are stocked with candy before 
the queens are confined. Usually there will be quite a little 
of this candy still left, at the time the queens are to be introduced. 
If so, all that is necessary is to remove the old queen, remove 
the paper across the exit hole which is filled with candy, and leave 
it to the bees to remove the candy, and release the queen. It is 
likely to require from one to three days to remove the candy, and 
by that time, there is little danger to the new queen. If but little 
candy remains, the paper should be left over the hole for a day or 
two before removing. When the paper is removed, if the candy is 
almost gone, a little broken comb honey may be pushed into the 
cavity. Bees are likely to be friendly to the queen which has been 
caged in the hive for two days, and the bees which remove the 
honey are likely to gorge themselves to the point of quietude. 

Some beekeepers by going to a little extra trouble, insure 

Fig. 38. A Mississippi queen-rearing apiary. 


success by this method. When new queens are ordered they 
cage the old queens in the hive until the newcomers arrive. 
The old queens are then destroyed, and the new ones placed in 
the same cages and replaced in the same hives. The cages 
have already acquired the hive odors, and the bees have become 
accustomed to the presence of their queens in the cages. By 
the time the candy has been removed, there is a very small 
element of danger. 

Direct Introduction. 

The easiest time for direct introduction of queens is during 
a heavy honeyflow. At such a time the bees will be in a con- 
stant state of activity because of the wealth of honey coming 
in, and queens can be introduced with a minimum of danger. 
At such times, the author has gone to the hives to be requeened, 
caught the old queens and run in the new ones, with little effort 
to disarrange the affairs of the community, yet the plan worked 
with entire success with colony after colony. Many of the di- 
rect methods which are so successful during a honeyflow, must 
be followed very carefully under other conditions, or failure 
will result. 

There are several of the direct methods, familiarly known as 
smoke method, flour method, water, and honey methods, etc. 
The same principle underlies them all. In every case the object 
is to develop such an abnormal condition within the hive, that 
the change of queens can be made without the fact being dis- 
covered by the bees. 

The smoke method has recently been exploited as something 
new. Some of the details of the practice are all that is new, 
for Alley described a similar way of introducing queens by means 
of tobacco smoke as long ago as 1885. He directed as follows: 
"When tobacco smoke is used to introduce them, throw some grass 
against the entrance to keep the smoke in and the bees from coming 
out. Blow in a liberal amount of smoke, and then let the queen run in 
at the top through the hole used for the cone-feeder." 

The method as advocated by A. C. Miller does not antici- 
pate the use of tobacco, but the ordinary smoke always avail- 



able to the beekeeper with a lighted smoker. He describes his 
plan as follows: 

"A colony to receive a queen has the entrance reduced to about 
a square inch with whatever is convenient, as grass, weeds, rags or wood, 
and then about three puffs of thick white smoke because such smoke 
is safe is blown in and the entrance closed. It should be explained 
that there is a seven-eighths inch space below the frames, so that the 
smoke which is blown in at the entrance, readily spreads and penetrates 
to all parts of the hive. In from fifteen to twenty seconds the colony 
will be roaring. The small space at the entrance is now opened; the 
queen is run in, followed by a gentle puff of smoke, and the entrance 
again closed and left closed for about ten minutes, when it is reopened, 
and the bees allowed to ventilate and quiet down. The full entrance 
is not given for an hour or more, or even until the next day." 

Neither of the smoke methods above given, nor, for that 
matter, most of the direct methods, are entirely reliable under 
adverse conditions. The great advantage in the use of such 
a method is the saving in time. Some queen breeders of the 
author's acquaintance have used the smoke method extensively 
for this reason, and with good success. Introducing a queen 
which is taken from a hive or nucleus and given at once to anoth- 

Fig. 39. A queen-rearing apiary in Georgia. 


er, is a much simpler matter than the introduction of a queen 
which has been caged for a week and probably travelled several 
hundred miles in a mailbag, where she had opportunity to ac- 
quire all kinds of foreign odors. The experienced man will 
soon learn when he can with safety depend upon a short cut, 
and when there is danger in doing so. 

Honey and Flour Methods. 

These methods are similar except that in one case honey is 
used and in the other case flour is the medium. The honey 
method is used with good success in introducing virgins to bees 
in packages, after they have been confined for a few hours. 
The queen is simply dropped into a cup of honey and entirely 
submerged in it, and then dropped in among the bees, which at 
once proceed to clean her up. For introducing queens into full 
colonies, this plan does not always succeed. 

Where the queen is covered with flour, she may be accepted 
or not, depending much upon other conditions. Where the 
honey method is used, the queen is much more likely to be 
accepted if the honey in which she is dipped is taken from the 
hive to which she is to be given, at the time of her introduction. 

Water Method. 

This method requires a little more trouble, but is generally 
successful according to reports, and also according to the auth- 
or's experience. The bees are shaken from the combs, and 
sprinkled with water until they are soaking wet. The new 
queen is wet likewise and dropped on the pile of wet bees in 
the bottom of the hive. The combs are then replaced and the 
hive covered. 

Neither of these methods is attractive, since it hardly seems 
like proper treatment to give a valuable queen. 

Introduction of Virgins. 

A newly emerged queen while she is still downy, say within 
half an hour of the time of her emergence, can be run into any 


queenless colony or nucleus with safety. The bees are appar- 
ently conscious that any bee of such a tender age is incapable 
of harm, and she is accepted as a child of the community. 
For such, it is not necessary to provide any artificial stimulus 
of any kind; smoke, flour, or water are all unnecessary. 

Virgins that are four or five days old are more difficult 
to introduce, than are fertile queens. Alley recommended dip- 
ping the virgin in honey, thinned with a little water as above 
described, and then dropping her into the queenless hive. He 
wrote that virgins could only be introduced successfully to 
colonies that had been queenless for at least three days. It 
has often been advised to leave colonies queenless for this per- 
iod before introducing fertile queens, but the author prefers 
to give a fertile queen immediately on removing the old queen. 
With virgins there is a larger element of danger. 

Spreading Disease from the Queen Yard. 

It is an unfortunate fact that much of the responsibility 
for the present wide-spread prevalence of foulbrood must be 
laid at the door of the careless queen breeder. Foulbrood has 
been introduced into many localities by the purchase of queens 
from diseased apiaries. The queen breeder cannot use too 
much care in keeping his apiary and his locality free from dis- 
ease. In any event, queens should not be mailed to purchasers 
from an apiary where disease is present. In our present state 
of knowledge of European foulbrood, it is uncertain in just 
what manner the disease is spread, but it is very probable that 
a queen bee, taken from a diseased colony, might be the means 
of introducing it into a healthy colony, even though no honey 
or bees accompany her. 

It is reasonably certain that there is little danger of the 
spread of American foulbrood, except in the honey from dis- 
eased colonies. The postal regulation which requires that honey 
used to make candy, to stock queen cages to be sent through 
the mails, be boiled for thirty minutes, is supposed to meet all 
requirements. While this may be true, as far as American 
foulbrood is concerned, it is not sufficient protection for the 
purchaser, from European foulbrood or paralysis. 

The late O. O. Poppleton related something of his experience 
with paralysis, to the writer. For a time he had serious losses 
among his bees from this disease. He was finally able to trace 
the trouble to the introduction of queens from the yards of a 
well known breeder. By requeening all his yards with a dif- 
ferent strain of bees, he was able to eliminate the disease. 
Later he introduced the same disorder to his apiaries again 
with queens from another source. On investigating the matter, 
he was surprised to learn that the man from whom he bought 




the new lot of queens, had previously purchased a breeding 
queen from the breeder from whom he had first contracted the 
disease. It accordingly became necessary to requeen his apiaries 
with new stock, a second time, to get rid of paralysis. 

Diseases of adult bees are, as yet, but little understood; 
but it is quite probable that there are several different diseases, 
all of which are known under the general name of paralysis. 
It is very evident that this trouble, whatever its nature, is 
widely disseminated by the sale of queens and bees in packages. 
The trouble has long been prevalent in the south, especially 
in Florida, but, of late, it is becoming common in many northern 
localities. It has attracted special notice in Wisconsin and 
Washington. In dry and warm seasons it is not serious, but in 
cold and damp summers becomes a serious problem. 

Cases have been called to the writer's attention, where 
all the bees introduced from a certain locality have died with 

Fig. 40. A Minnesota queen yard. 


this disorder, while the stock which had previously been pres- 
ent in the apiary remained in healthy condition. 

If the business of queen breeding is to remain permanent 
and profitable, it is highly desirable that concerted action be 
taken, looking to the control of shipment of queens or bees 
from diseased apiaries. The buyer should be assured that he 
will not endanger his future prospects by buying queens anywhere 
that they are offered. About the only solution that seems readily 
apparent is federal supervision of queen yards. An increasing 
number of expert beekeepers are being employed in the exten- 
sion service of the United States department, and these could 
be used to inspect all queen-breeding apiaries at least once each 
year, in connection with their other work. 

Several of the states have provision for the inspection of 
queen-breeding apiaries, and withhold certificates of health 
from apiaries where disease is found. However, not all the 
states have inspection and those that have do not have uniform 
regulations. The shipment of both bees and queens is becom- 
ing so general that uniform interstate 'regulations are very de- 

In the opinion of the author, the future of the business 
depends very much on the attitude which the queen breeders, 
as a class, assume toward this question. 

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A Lippincott Farm Manual, 134 illustra- 
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